Conservation planning in a very complex region

The 3rd International Workshop in Advancing Conservation Planning in the Mediterranean Sea

Back in 2012, a group of conservation researchers led by CEED scientists established a series of workshops that aimed to bring together scientists and managers working on conservation planning in the Mediterranean Sea (one of most human-impacted and jurisdictionally complex seas in the world). The aim of the workshops was to discuss gaps and challenges in the region and advance collaborative efforts, and enhance novel work leading to better science-based support for managers and policy makers based in and around the Mediterranean Sea.

The first workshop took place in Santorini, Greece in 2013. The second workshop took place in Nachsholim, Israel. The third workshop took place in Lecce, Italy, last year.

The Lecce workshop saw 21 people meet from eight Mediterranean and extra-Mediterranean countries (Australia and USA). Over two days, participants discussed the challenges faced by this complex region in devising comprehensive spatial planning both in coastal and in deep-sea environments. The researchers also sought to provide a framework for the implementation of marine conservation plans that accounted for invasive species.

Within the Mediterranean Sea, marine/maritime spatial planning (MSP) within the EEZ of countries is now mandated by the EU Maritime Spatial Planning Directive and as part of the Marine Strategy Framework Directive. This represents an unprecedented opportunity to include conservation planning in the broader planning of marine uses with the aim of reconciling environmental protection and economic goals.

“While general lessons and models for implementing marine spatial planning can be derived from previous experiences in northern Europe and around the world, comprehensive spatial planning in the Mediterranean faces additional challenges associated with the political and governance complexities of a semi-enclosed sea shared by 22 countries and rapid demographic, policy and environmental change,” says CEED’s Associate Professor Salit Kark, who has been a driving force and co-chair of the Mediterranean workshops.

“The Lecce Workshop discussed the challenges faced by this complex region. Insights from our analysis will provide guidance for how to incorporate future change in spatial planning in other marine ecoregions.”

The workshops have resulted in over ten peer reviewed papers to date dealing with Mediterranean Sea conservation.

“We hope this tradition of collaborative research on Mediterranean conservation planning that we have begun, and CEED has supported, will continue long into the future,” says Kark.

More info: Salit Kark s.kark@uq.edu.au

And see Decision Point #73 for background on the work being done in this region.

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