MedSudMed's Expert Consultation on Marine Protected Areas and fishery
(14-16 April 2003, Salammbô
1st meeting of the MedSudMed Coordination Committee, a general outline of
research and the activities to be implemented by the Project have been
discussed. One of the research proposal focuses on Marine Protected Areas
(MPAs) and Fisheries Management in the Central Mediterranean. This area
includes almost all the typical Mediterranean coastal and pelagic habitats,
with the peculiarity that in some areas they are overexploited and in some
others they are almost still intact, and can be considered as MPAs. The
availability of several habitats under a different stage of protection, and
the opportunity of creating new ad hoc MPAs in the region can allow
the testing of a series of hypotheses on the role of the MPAs, in particular
on their potential role in (i) the recovery of depleted stocks; (ii) the
prevention of recruitment overfishing, and (iii) the spillover of fish to
adjacent fished areas. An Expert Consultation was organized on this issue,
giving priority to the exchange of experiences regarding MPAs with
particular attention to the areas in which fishing activities occur and are
managed. This would allow, when the case arises, to foresee a possible
methodology prior to the closure of fishing, once qualitative and
quantitative effects were estimated.
Obiective of the Expert Consultation
The EC explored facets dealing with Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) in the Southern
part of the Central Mediterranean, in attempting to have a synthesis of
existing knowledge and activities dealing with MPAs and an overview of the
types of studies. The National contributions were requested to describe
studies and/or measures that have been conducted / applied to date, or any
project on (possible) future protected areas. The presentation of existing
key studies was also expected to give an overview of the effects of fishing
ban on fish size, biomass and spatial distribution.
of comparative studies that can possibly be conducted, the presentation of
all available information was considered as a must for future activities
(research, training, or management). This would enable listing the gaps in
the knowledge and methodologies, and draw-up consequent working and training
programs agreed upon by all participating countries.
Focus and addressed issue
The focus of the Expert Consultation was on MPAs and Fisheries Management,
e.g. any marine area that is under any kind of protection. Experience
on Marine Reserves / National Parks oriented towards biodiversity
conservation was also presented. Moreover, ongoing projects were presented,
as well as biological, ecological and socio-economical issues. Types of
studies and topics that could be addressed were:
studies: studies conducted on a zone closed to fishing, and where
ecological effects have been observed and quantified. Indirect descriptions,
such as economic effects of the closure could also be presented.
Feasibility studies: in highly depleted zones, where the closure has
been envisaged as a possible solution for stock enhancement.
- Problems affecting fisheries resources that can possibly be resolved by
the creation of an MPA (Over-fishing, Illegal coastal fishing, …).
Artificial reefs as a tool to prevent illegal fishing in protected
Sensitive habitats that deserve appropriate protection, because of
their importance in fisheries ecology (reproduction, spawning, feeding
Abiotic environment: physico-chemical parameters as elements
conditioning plankton productivity and the trophic chain.
Socio-economical and cultural issues that show the effect of the
fishing closure / protection, or effect of over-fishing on socio-economical
and cultural features of an area.
aspects: existing laws and control procedures, respect/non respect of
national regulations, in order to foresee the existing controlling procedure
in case of fishing closure.
of the knowledge on Marine Protected Areas and related
fisheries management aspects in the MedSudMed study area,
both on already protected zones and zones that can possibly
be protected in a next future;
Identification of gaps, in particular regarding the effect
of fishing closure, the missing elements necessary to
Methodology to fill the gaps more particularly regarding
feasibility studies, and/or research activities to be
conducted to improve knowledge on the effect of fishing
closure on fish size, and biomass.
study cases that can be conducted. Advantage will be taken
of outputs produced by previous studies on similar topics.
of the regional and national expertise
Identification of training needs / possibilities
of a regional network of multidisciplinary experts, to be
involved in the MedSudMed activities related to this EC.
Discussions held during this Expert Consultation should not overlap with previous ones,
in particular dealing with conservation. Presentations and discussions
should be focused on fisheries and fisheries management. Therefore, it is
important that Marine Protected Areas should be considered in a management
perspective, and that all outputs be focused on this issue.The report of the Expert Consultation will be edited as Technical
Document of MedSudMed Project and will be available as an information paper
for the SAC and SAC sub-committees on Ecosystems and Marine Environment and
Stock Assessment, as well as for other relevant regional meetings and bodies
related to the addressed issue.
Expert Consultation consisted of regional and extra-regional experts having
broad discipline background. Discussions were conducted by Scientific
Coordinator of the Project, Project staff and experts participating in the
expert consultation. A chairman was nominated to synthesize the discussions,
and to act as team leader for the activities to be conducted as a follow-up
of the meeting. The Expert Consultation was conducted in English and French.