Why & How

Mediterranean Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) have proliferated in recent years, with positive long-term results for local communities and in particular artisanal fisheries. In the short term, however, the creation of MPAs is often subject to strong opposition from local fishermen: MPAs can be perceived as limiting their activities and therefore incomes. The FishMPABlue2 project (follow up of FishMPABlue1) addresses existing and potential conflicts and proposes solutions. FishMPABlue2 involves key actors in the planning of conservation measures and fishery regulation processes within blue-economy-driven sustainable governance. FishMPABlue2 builds on good working relationships between MPA Managers and fishermen in some MPAs, and develops new ways of improving governance through small-scale fisheries co-management within and around MPAs.

FishMPABlue1 analysed the management of small-scale fishery within and around protected areas and identified improvements to be implemented through an innovative governance toolkit. FishMPABlue2 will test such a toolkit to demonstrate its effectiveness in achieving expected results. FishMPABlue2 will strengthen the management and networking capacities of Mediterranean MPAs. The partnership includes those organizations already involved in the FishMPABlue1 project, enriched with other Mediterranean region-based actors, a Mediterranean network of small-scale fishermen and key policy makers at national level.

Our overarching vision is to maintain biodiversity and natural ecosystems while increasing sustainability (also socio-economic) of small-scale fisheries, through better managed and connected MPAs and more involved fishermen. Also, working with the main regional and national policy makers, FishMPABlue2 looks towards potential mainstreaming to the whole Mediterranean region.

Luca Santarossa, FishMPABlue2 Project Manager

The governance toolkit will be tested in 11 pilot MPAs located in 6 Mediterranean countries. These sites cover most of the management conditions existing in the Mediterranean basin, thus allowing us to test the effects of an important number of governance tools in a representative sample.

The project will benefit major MPA-related stakeholders:

1)       small-scale fishers, through a potential enhancement of their socio-economic conditions, an increased awareness of conservation needs and the testing of fishery management-related solutions.
2)       MPA managers, through scientific and technical guidance in implementing beneficial management tools in MPAs.

Transversal benefits include improvement in the environmental and ecological status of the marine and coastal environment in line with the EU Directives (e.g. MSFD) and CFP. Findings arising from pilot actions will be replicable in other Mediterranean MPAs and will be crucial concepts to set up policy recommendations for the management of small-scale fisheries in the whole Mediterranean region.

Regular exchanges between MPAs and fishermen at Mediterranean level will be assured through webinars, and during the 2020 Mediterranean MPA Forum. An online platform will be created and will continue after the project’s end, to spread the project achievements.