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East Mediterranean

MSP EU Legend 1

This map was compiled from different international sources such as EMODnet, EEA or Marine Regions. Information obtained from these sources was cross-checked with data from national sources. While compilation was carried out by the European MSP Platform, validation and quality assurance remain the responsibility of the primary data sources.

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eastmed [at] (eastmed[at]maritime-spatial-planning[dot]ec[dot]europa[dot]eu)

General introduction to the Eastern Mediterranean Sea basin

For the purpose of the EU MSP Platform, the East Mediterranean is represented by the eastern portion of the Mediterranean Sea basin. The East Mediterranean includes:

  • the Adriatic Sea, northwest of the main body of the eastern Mediterranean Sea, separates the Italian peninsula from the Balkan peninsula and extends from the Strait of Otranto to the south (where it connects to the Ionian Sea) to the Gulf of Venice in the north.
  • the Ionian Sea lying to the south of Italy and Greece, where the deepest sounding in the Mediterranean, about 16,000 feet (4,900 metres), has been recorded (Encyclopaedia Britannica). A maximum depth of 5.150 metres is met along the Southern coast of Greece.
  • the Aegean Sea, located between the Greek and the Anatolian peninsulas, with the island of Crete defining its southern border (Encyclopaedia Britannica). The Aegean Sea contains more than 700 islands and islets, forming a large archipelago.
  • the Levantine Sea is separated from the Ionian Sea by a submarine ridge between the western end of Crete and Cyrenaica (Libya) and extends to the south of the Anatolia peninsula. It is bordered by Turkey in the north, Syria, Lebanon, Israel and the Gaza Strip in the east, Egypt and Libya in the south, and the Aegean Sea in the northwest. The west borders the open Mediterranean (also called the Libyan Sea) and is defined as a line from the cape Ra's al-Hilal in Libya to the island of Gavdos, south of Crete.

Both EU and non-EU countries have coasts on the East Mediterranean. The EU countries are Italy, Slovenia, Croatia, Greece and Cyprus. The non-EU countries are Albania, Montenegro, Bosnia-Herzegovina (with coasts on the Adriatic Sea) and Turkey, Syria, Lebanon, Israel, Gaza Strip, Egypt, Libya (with coasts on the Aegean and/or Levantine Seas).

Countries in this area share some transboundary MSP related issues and challenges, such as the possible exploitation of submarine natural gas and oil resources, the need for environmental conservation and management actions, also considering that environmental quality is a winning asset for coastal tourism – a relevant and significant economic activity for the East Mediterranean - sustainable management of fishery and fish stocks, the urgent need for cooperation in the sector of safety at sea, due to the present migratory crisis.

Countries and MSP in the Eastern Mediterranean

Croatia: MSP Process ongoing

Cyprus: MSP Adopted

Greece: MSP Process ongoing

Italy: MSP Process ongoing

Slovenia: MSP Adopted

Additional information