CoCoNet Press Release 39

July-August 2015

WE NEED MORE SPAMIs (Specially Protected Areas of Mediterranean Importance) 

The Mediterranean and Black Sea are under anthropogenic pressure caused by several factors, such as pollution, overfishing, climate change, and habitat degradation. These seas also serve us, humans, as the sources of food, water, energy and capitals of the tourism, transportation and commerce. They are, however, neither inexhaustible nor immune to continuous damages. To mitigate all damages we need to achieve ecosystem-based management and protection of valuable marine resources and services of both seas. For this purpose, the establishment of marine protected areas (MPAs) is one of the main tools. We need more MPAs, but not only in the territorial waters but also in the high sea areas of the Mediterranean and Black Seas.
For the Mediterranean Sea, the Contracting Parties to the Barcelona Convention established the List of Specially Protected Areas of Mediterranean Importance (SPAMI List) in order to promote cooperation in the management and conservation of natural areas, as well as in the protection of threatened species and their habitats through the Protocol concerning Specially Protected Areas and Biological Diversity in the Mediterranean (SPA/BD Protocol). According to the provisions of this protocol, SPAMIs may be established in the marine and coastal zones subject to the sovereignty or jurisdiction of the Parties and in areas situated partly or wholly on the high sea. For the moment, the SPAMI List includes 33 sites, among which one encompasses an area established also on the high sea: the Pelagos Sanctuary for marine mammals.

A Map of SPAMIs (


Coconet Press Release July August 2015


But as you can notice in the map, we need further steps for the eastern Mediterranean Sea, where only two countries have SPAMIs. We have to urge Turkey and Greece to identify SPAMIs at the earliest time. The Eastern Mediterranean Sea already faces serious threats due to alien species entering through the Suez Channel which are affecting the biodiversity of the entire Mediterranean Sea. We also urge all relevant authorities to consider networking of these SPAMIs to create more synergetic effect on the protection of marine biodiversity.
To break barriers for the sustainability of the Mediterranean and Black Sea, the CoCoNet team have been strongly and collaboratively working for the past three years. In this final year, we will share our precious data with all stakeholders in the area, including scientists, politicians and public at large.

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