Why & How

Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) are vital for the conservation of the Mediterranean Sea, since they help manage several pressures like fishery. However, many species and habitats in MPAs are still exposed to a variety of stressors. In most MPAs human activities are not spatially managed considering their cumulative effects and the monitoring of the effects of protection and management is not coordinated. In addition, no attempt has ever been carried out to address the environmental accounting to assess the consequences of human impacts and inform management initiatives.

These gaps can determine:

  • Hot spot of conflicts among present human activities (e.g. Fishery, Tourisms frequentation, Yachting), together with an unsustainable use of the resources (e.g. habitat loss); 
  • Lack of knowledge about the consequent economic loss derived from these not spatially managed activities;
  • A substantial lack of coordination on the monitoring of biological and environmental changes of both MPAs and FRAs;
  • Lack of consideration into management plan and monitoring programs of the effects of those human activities that will increase in the future (e.g. coastal tourism, aquaculture, off shore wind farms) according to EU indications (http://ec.europa.eu/maritimeaffairs/policy/blue_growth/).

The main objectives of AMAre project were:

  • develop shared methodologies and geospatial tools for multiple stressors assessment, coordinated environmental monitoring, multi-criteria analyses and stakeholders' engagements;
  • develop concrete pilot actions and coordinated strategies in selected Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) to solve hot spots of conflicts affecting marine biodiversity and the services it provides.

Transnational cooperation and regulations, development of coordinated best practices, data access to share information and concrete stakeholder and users’ involvement are the expected results. The final aim was to scale up strategies and recommendations at transnational level adopting an ecosystem-based approach considering the goals of the Marine Strategy Framework Directive (MSFD) across MPAs.

AMAre PLUS aims at capitalizing the successful experience of the AMAre Project transferring the main three products to other MPAs across the basin:

  1. the Spatial Geoportal,
  2. the Monitoring Protocols on vulnerable habitats,
  3. the Best Practices as a summary of recommendations arisen from AMAre, to make the Management Plan of Mediterranean MPAs more effective and coherent.