MARINE PROTECTED AREAS AND THE INTERNATIONAL BLACK SEA DAY 2015
The International Black Sea Day was celebrated this year on 30 October at Taksim Point Hotel, Istanbul, Turkey. A press meeting was organized by Prof. Bayram Öztürk, responsible for the outreach activities of CoCoNet, prior to the Black Sea Day. The journalists from Ukraine, Russia and Turkey attended this meeting. Prof. Öztürk made a presentation about the Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) and the CoCoNet Project. In the Turkish coasts of the Black Sea, five potential MPAs were proposed by Prof. Öztürk, including the CoCoNet pilot project area in Şile.
The International Black Sea Day was celebrated with more than 50 participants from all Black Sea riparian countries, namely Bulgaria, Georgia, Romania, Russia, Turkey and Ukraine. There was a session of some international projects related to the Black Sea, such as CoCoNet, Perseus and Devotes. The short version of the CoCoNet documentary film was screened. At the end of the meeting, the local folk dance from the Turkish Black Sea coast was performed with the live music of 'kemençe'. They were dressed in CoCoNet T-shirts during their performance.
In the Black Sea, there are several important MPAs. The most significant sites are Danube Delta Biosphere Reserve (Romania), 2 Mai – Vama Veche (Romania), Kholketi National Park (Georgia), Zernov's Large Phyllophora Field Botanical Reserve (Ukraine), Chernomorskiy Biosphere Reserve (Ukraine) and Bolshoi Utrish (Russia). In the Turkish part, unfortunately, there are only a few MPAs designated under the Ramsar Convention (the Convention on Wetlands of International Importance). There should be more MPAs in the Turkish part since it is also very vulnerable due to overfishing and other anthropogenic stress. Besides, compared to the Mediterranean Sea, there is much less effort to designate MPAs in the entire Black Sea coasts.
Nevertheless, in spite of recent unstable and unclear political situations in the region, we know that water and marine organisms do not recognize borders between countries, thus concerted actions are needed. CoCoNet and other international projects presented on the International Black Sea Day are excellent examples to demonstrate the power of science for regional cooperation.