This week, representatives from the neighboring countries of the Alboran Sea are meeting at the premises of the IUCN Centre for Mediterranean Cooperation (IUCN-Med) in Malaga to re-launch multilateral working groups to identify and establish Marine Protected Areas (MPA) in the open seas, including the deep seas.
The two-day encounter is organized by the Regional Activity Centre for Specially Protected Areas (RAC/SPA) under the framework of the Mediterranean Action Plan of the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP). The participants will be informed on the various objectives and actions embraced by the third phase of the “MedOpenSeas” project which will focus on the spatial planning and evaluation of three priority areas already identified (Alboran Sea, Adriatic Sea and Sicily Channel/Tunisian Plateau).
The RAC/SPA has started to compile and review available data, with IUCN-Med collaboration, to produce a report illustrating the state of ecological knowledge for the Alboran area as to guide decision-makers to base their decision on best available science. The first drafts containing information on seabirds, fisheries, marine mammals and general ecological characteristics will be presented to open discussion on their further elaboration.
The legal aspects will be reviewed as well through the document “Legal implications of developing MPAs in the Mediterranean open sea”, previously prepared and agreed upon by the RAC/SPA national focal points.
The ultimate goal of the process is the identification of sites in the Alboran sea that deserve to be managed in terms of conservation and sustainable use of the resources in the open seas, including deep seas, and the development of suitable management measures for these sites.
For further info: Alain Jeudy