Recent surveys have shown that most of the Mediterranean fish stocks are overexploited, while also fishing exploitation is rising (eg Colloca et al. 2013, Vasilakopoulos et al. 2014, Tsikliras et al. 2015). Therefore the need to implement effective management measures is of outmost importance.
Fisheries management is, traditionally, focused on Maximum Sustainable Yield (MSY) for target species, estimated through dynamic population models (Agardy 2006) which are used for the definition of technical management measures (e.g. minimum size / age catches, quotas, restrictions on the number of vessels, space-time constraints), while only rarely ecosystem processes are taken into account (Skern-Mauritzen et al. 2016).
Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) comprise a promising tool for the maintenance/ management of marine ecosystems since, by attempting to protect biodiversity and enhance fisheries, management measures are combined with ecosystem processes (Agardy & Staub 2006, and references therein). However, both their effectiveness and contribution need to be assessed.
Within this framework, a research project was designed entitled: «Towards the establishment of Marine Protected Area Networks in the Eastern Mediterranean -PROTOMEDEA» aiming to propose an MPA network that meets MSY objectives as these are defined by the Common Fisheries Policy.