WP2: Current MPA status in the Eastern Mediterranean

Co-ordinator: Marianna Giannoulaki (HCMR)

Task 2.1: Existing MPAs in the study areas

Responsible: Dr Marianna Giannoulaki (HCMR)
As by the term "Marine Protected Areas" a wide variety protected areas are referred to, it is of high importance to have an overall picture of all areas under any kind of protection in the study areas. All existing areas considered as MPAs (e.g. NATURA sites, military areas, fishing restricted/protected areas, etc.), as well as areas already planned/proposed for protection will be mapped in the two study areas:

Sub-Task 2.1.1: Existing MPAs in the Aegean Sea
Responsibles: Stelios Katsanevakis (UAegean) & Athanassios Tsikliras (AUTh)

Sub-Task 2.1.2: Existing MPAs in Cyprus
Responsible: Antonis Petrou (ENALIA)

Task 2.2:
Identification of essential habitats

Responsible: Dr Marianna Giannoulaki (HCMR)
The protection of the so-called essential fish habitat (EFH: those habitats where fish concentrate for recruitment, spawning or feeding) from the negative impacts of human activities, including fishing, is one of the requirements of the Ecosystem Approach to Fisheries (EAF). It is acknowledged within the latest European Common Fishery Policy (CFP) that in order to maintain the integrity, structure and functioning of ecosystems, safeguarding of fish nursery areas is necessary. Maintenance of a population depends on successful recruitment of young fish to nursery areas and from nursery areas back to the parent population (Hinckley et al. 2001). The location of nursery areas is therefore an integral component of the adaptation of marine fish life cycles to their environments.

The main aims of Task 2.2 are to:
  • review and update all existing information on the spatial distribution of nurseries of the target species in the study areas;
  • identify the spatial distribution of nurseries areas of the target species in the Cyprus area by analyzing all existing information from available survey data
  • compile in format for GIS rendering the geographic information on the location of nursery grounds in the study areas at a resolution appropriate to identify and design MPAs network.

Sub Task 2.2.1:
Mapping of nursery grounds of small pelagic fish
Responsible: Marianna Giannoulaki (HCMR)

Small pelagic fish are known to play a key ecological role in coastal ecosystems, transferring energy from plankton to upper trophic levels (Cury et al., 2000). Their relatively low position in the marine food web, together with their short life-span and their reproductive strategy of producing large quantities of pelagic eggs over an extended spawning season, makes their population strongly dependent on the environment (Bakun, 1996). Juveniles are much more vulnerable to environmental changes compared to adults and are a better index of stock status when it comes to short-lived, small pelagic fish species. Large-scale conservation planning and the design of Marine Protected Areas network require the identification of priority areas or areas of particular concern such as fish nursery grounds.

The main aim of this WP is to provide essential information for the identification of priority areas for the management of small pelagic stocks in the eastern Mediterranean as protecting juveniles grounds can maintain good population status and highly increase the effectiveness of large scale fisheries management.

Sub Task 2.2.2:
Mapping of nursery grounds of demersal fish
Responsible: George Tserpes (HCMR)

In the last 20 years several studies on the distribution of the nurseries of demersal commercial species have been carried out in several Mediterranean areas by different research institutes at different spatial and temporal scale, generally using different types of survey data. However, information on the nurseries of demersal fish in the Eastern Mediterranean remains limited.

The main aim of this Sub task is to compile and update existing information on the identification and location of nursery areas (juveniles in their first and, if appropriate, second year of life) for the most important demersal species in the Eastern Mediterranean included in Appendix VU of Council Regulation (EC) No 199/2008 as well as for the species subject to minimum size (Council Regulation (EC) No 1967/2006-Annex III).

Task 2.3: Mapping fishing effort in the study areas

Responsible: Stefanos Kavadas (HCMR)

The estimation of the fishing effort pattern for the registered fishing fleet and the assessment of the relative impacts of the fishing activity are among the main requirements for the implementation of the Data Collection Framework (DCF) in line with Council Regulation (EC) No 199/2008

In Greece the Hellenic Ministry of Maritime Affairs, Islands and Fisheries, where as in Cyprus the Department of Fisheries and Marine Research are the official providers for the primary VMS data upon a request. The data are characterized as confidential and are used only for scientific purposes in the framework of research projects.

Mapping of fishing effort will be performed both in the Aegean Sea, as well as in Cyprus, and will include all fisheries activities by trawlers and purse-seiners (VMS data), small-scale fisheries (Kavadas and Maina 2012, Kavadas et. al. 2015) and recreational fisheries (model to be developed).

The aim of Task 2.3 is to estimate the fishing effort and map the foot print from the commercial and recreational fishing fleet operating in the open sea and coastal zone of the selected study areas. The methodological procedures applied in Task will be articulated in the following sub-tasks:

    1. Sub-task 2.3.1: Estimation of fishing effort from trawlers and purse seines.
    2. Sub-task 2.3.2: Estimation of fishing effort from the coastal fishing fleet
    3. Sub-task 2.3.3: Identification of fishing grounds for the target species
    4. Sub-task 2.3.4: Estimation of fishing effort from the recreational fishing fleet

Task 2.4: Recreational fisheries

Responsible: Athanasios Tsikliras (AUTh)

Recreational fishing includes the fishery conducted for leisure and to supplement the diet and can be discriminated to boat-based recreational, shore based recreational angling fisheries, spear fishing and shellfish collection. Shore-based recreational angling fisheries have been constantly expanding in Greek waters since 1950 (Moutopoulos et al. 2013). Apart from the general difficulties in estimating the effect of recreational fishing, the extended coastline and the numerous islands in Greek waters attracts recreational fishers and creates an added disadvantage in monitoring recreational fishing, in estimating its contribution in total catches with respect to MSY objectives. In most cases recreational fisheries catches coincide with the main targets of the professional small scale coastal fisheries (Moutopoulos et al. 2013); thus in touristic areas, such as some Greek islands and Cyprus, the effect of recreational catches may be proportionally greater compared to coastal fisheries. Given the strength of recreational fishers’ groups in local societies, an MPA network will consider the interrelationship between recreational fishing and MPAs.


Task 2.1: Existing MPAs in the study areas

D2.1: MPA maps in the Aegean Sea
D2.2: MPA maps in Cyprus

Task 2.2:
Identification of essential habitats

D2.3: Maps of essential fish habitats for the target species

Task 2.3: Mapping fishing effort in the study areas

D2.4: Maps of fishing effort
2.4.1: Map the estimated fishing effort from trawlers and purse seines, assessing the actual extent of its activities
2.4.2: Map the estimated fishing effort from the small scale coastal fisheries sector, assessing the actual ex tent of its activities
2.4.3: Identification and mapping of fishing grounds for the most important commercial species
2.4.4: Estimation and mapping of fishing effort from the recreational fishing fleet
2.4.5: Estimation and mapping of fishing effort in the NMPANS

Task 2.4: Recreational fisheries

D2.5: Recreational fisheries in study areas/impact on MPAs

Work Packages

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About Us

PROTOMEDEA stands for "Towards the establishment of Marine Protected Area Networks in the Eastern Mediterranean"

The project will be running for 36 months, from December 2015 to November 2018

and the level of funding amounts to EUR 600.000.