2012 Forum of Marine Protected Areas in the Mediterranean

25 November 2012 | Event

Antalya, Turkey, 25th – 28th November 2012

The Mediterranean Marine Protected Areas Network (MedPAN) forum took place in Antalya (Turkey) from the 25th to the 28th November. This meeting is held every four years and bring together MPA managers, scientists, NGOs and stakeholders. This year more than 300 delegates attended the meeting.

This edition theme was “Toward a comprehensive, ecologically representative, effectively connected and effectively managed network of marine protected areas by 2020”.

Presentations took place over three days, often in three parallel sessions focusing in different aspects of MPA managment The two major outcomes from the forum were the development and agreement of the Antalya Declaration accompanied by developing the draft MPA Road Map .

The main conclusions from the event alongside this included:

  • The Mediterranean is far (around 4-5%) from the target of minimum 10% of MPA surface that should be reached. If instead of coverage we talk about habitat representation the percentage is much lower.
  • This lack of MPA is more significant in the southern Mediterranean countries and the high seas.
  •  MPAs need to meet the IUCN definition of a protected area and they need management plans that comprehensively deal with the current and possible threats to the area. Places that just ban fishing need to build more comprehensive approaches and need to qualify as MPAs (so discounting such areas should decrease the % of MPA).
  • MPA are everyone’s businesses, so it’s crucial to gather all stakeholders’ opinions. Stakeholders should participate in the managing team and feel a sense of ownership.
  • MPAs are efficient management tools for ameliorating human impact on coastal marine ecosystems. By increasing ecosystem stability, they promote resilience and faster recovery from disturbance.
  • Understanding, monitoring and managing climate-induced change is critical for Marine Protected Areas (MPAs).
  • Managing standards should be found that adapt to every local key issues. Global institutions should develop and promote them.
  • MPA management should not focus only on environmental issues but also on socioeconomic. Managers should understand that they also work to manage efficient use and to improve people awareness of MPA benefits, otherwise they will always be misunderstood.
  • NGO role in MPA is essential because they have the potential of teaming up stakeholders. NGO should also team up with governments to manage MPA as funding is being reduced. The meeting was also useful for sharing opinions and points of view between all attendants.