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Safeguarding Marine Protected Areas in the growing Mediterranean Blue Economy - Recommendations for Maritime Transport


This report, produced within the PHAROS4MPAS project, proposes a set of recommendations on how public and private stakeholders in the Mediterranean can collaborate in order to prevent or minimize the impacts of maritime traffic in Marine Protected Areas (MPAs).

Application in MSP:
Type of Issue:
Type of practice:
Stage of MSP cycle:
Cross-border / trans-national aspect:
Coherence with other processes:
Key words:

Questions this practice may help answer:

  • How do commercial transport activities affect MPAs?
  • How to prevent/avoid/reduce impacts of maritime transport activities in MPAs?

Implementation Context:

The report was developed within the PHAROS4MPAs project. It explores how Mediterranean MPAs are affected by activities in the growing Blue Economy, and provides a set of practical recommendations for regional stakeholders on how the environmental impacts of key sectors can be prevented or minimized.

Aspects / Objectives:

By bringing together different stakeholders and exploring the major issues experienced in MPAs, PHAROS4MPAs´ goal is to provide examples of best practice and facilitate information exchange among MPAs affected by similar pressures. The aim of this project was to produce practical recommendations for addressing the potential negative interactions between maritime transport and MPAs.


The report was developed taking into account the different roles, interests and attitudes of MPA managers, public authorities and the maritime transport sector.

Main Outputs / Results:

In certain sensitive MPAs, maritime transport of any kind is forbidden. In many, though, shipping activity is legally possible, so there is an urgent need for all relevant stakeholders to work together to ensure sustainable transport practices and tools are identified and adopted to minimize its impact. This report provides key recommendations for the main actors in the maritime transport sector to help move towards a sustainable Blue Economy model for the Mediterranean. Conclusions on the different categories of stakeholders involved are synthesized here:

  • MPA managers are rarely able to impose direct regulations on maritime traffic, but they can do a great deal to promote dialogue with the industry, spread best practice, collect data, raise awareness and coordinate local actions. A strong MPA network is essential.
  • Public Authorities – from state transport agencies to port authorities – control Marine Spatial Planning and can impose a range of measures to prevent accidents and protect ecosystems. Authorities also provide crucial financial resources for research and technologies that can be widely applied. Cross-border, sub-regional and regional cooperation are particularly important given the scale on which the sector operates.
  • The maritime transport companies already have access to a large amount of knowledge and technology aimed at preventing or minimizing their environmental impacts, and further investments could be made to develop and support innovation. Companies need to comply with relevant regulations and should adopt environmentally responsible practices more broadly. Cross-sectoral work is needed too: MPA managers can train vessel staff in best practices, while ships can assist research by inviting on board scientific observers and carrying out monitoring activities.


The results and recommendations can be applied to other MPAs outside the Mediterranean.

Responsible Entity:


Funding Source:

Interreg MED Programme 2014-2020

Contact person:

Mauro Randone (WWF Mediterranean, Rome) (mrandone[at]wwfmedpo[dot]org)