Pan – Mediterranean Activities
Reinforced coordination among partners (MedPAN)
Important Marine Turtle Areas
Exchange visits were initiated in 2019 with the IUCN international expert group on marine turtles to build on international and standardised processes to define criteria for Important Marine Turtles Areas (IMTAs) and identify IMTAs in the Mediterranean. MedPAN, in collaboration with SPA-RAC, contributes to the identification of criteria that will lead to an indicative map of IMTAs for the Mediterranean. The identification of important areas for highly mobile species is key to designate areas to be protected and to identify existing gaps in the protection of these species. They also help networks of MPA and national authorities with strategies for their conservation and marine spatial planning.
During the MedPAN regional sharing-experience workshop (November 2019, Akyaka Turkey), a dedicated session on IMTAs with contribution from an expert on IMMAs (Important Marine Mammal Areas) and an expert of the IUCN expert group on marine turtles was organized.
The 2020 Mediterranean MPA Status Report
MedPAN, conducted in 2019 an intensive data collection among more than 250 Mediterranean MPAs. Data collected complemented to MAPAMED. Those data relate to governance bodies, key habitats, main species, pressures and regulations. With respect to marine species, some MPAs identified marine turtles (Caretta caretta and Chelonia mydas) and argumented whether these species justify designation of the MPAs, whether they were monitored or whether management measures were put into force. Those results will contribute to the 2020 Mediterranean MPA Status Report that is carried out every 4 years in collaboration with SPA-RAC.
A Marine Turtle Working Group
An exchange visit took place in the National Marine Park of Zakynthos (Greece) in May 2017 with the participation of MPA managers, scientists and NGO representatives from respective Mediterranean sub-regions. During this visit, several aspects of marine turtle conservation were addressed and a Mediterranean MPA marine turtle working group (MPATWG) was established. Since then, the MPATWG meets every year. MPA managers can adopt measures that help decrease pressures in-water and on nesting beaches. By collaborating they can be more effective at minimizing pressures and impacts on mating, migrating, foraging and overwintering sites for marine turtles.
The MPATWG reviewed the guide on marine turtle monitoring protocols for MPA managers that will be finalised in 2020 and drafted a cooperation charter. During the 2019 meeting, the MPATWG also contributed to the preparation of MedPAN’s regional sharing-experience workshop on mobile species that was held in Turkey in November 2019. In 2020, the MPATWG is focusing on the development of training modules on migratory species for MPA managers.
Monitoring Marine Turtle Guide
The protection of highly mobile species such as marine turtles whose habitats range well beyond the boundaries of individual MPAs and may actually encompass several MPAs requires the adoption of a regional approach. The use of harmonised and standardised MPA monitoring protocols can support such an approach by facilitating the sharing, the analysis and the comparison of data.
The Monitoring Marine Turtle Guide, that will be finalised in 2020, will aim to guide MPA managers through all the necessary steps to establish a marine turtle monitoring programme tailored to their own needs: definition of the objectives, choice and adaptation of the protocol, implementation of the protocol, data analysis and interpretation, etc. Instead of a single protocol, this guide will propose a set of standardised protocols, each one of which will address a specific management question.
The creation of a permanent and operational training mechanism for MPAs in the Mediterranean is one of the project’s goals. A first test training was organized in 2019 in Port-Cros. The training course on mobile species and the first training module on marine turtles will be developed in 2020 and a training session will be organized in the National Marine Park of Zakynthos, in Greece.
Pan-Mediterranean Stranding Protocol & Database (MEDASSET)
The Mediterranean sea is a biodiversity hotspot of high importance worldwide and hosts significant sea turtle populations across its range for mating, nesting, as well as for feeding and wintering of adult, sub-adult and juvenile individuals. As the largest semi-closed basin on our planet surrounded by 23 countries with a total coastline length of 46.000 km, consequently sea turtle strandings occur every day across the Mediterranean, either alive, injured or dead. It is important that these incidents are managed and recorded.
To date, some Mediterranean countries have a National Stranding Network that use a specific protocol for recordings, whereas others operate independently, applying different protocols within the same region. The necessity of the elaboration of a Pan-Mediterranean Stranding Protocol and Database has been identified as a priority, for data collection regarding sea turtles of the Mediterranean. MEDASSET perceiving this necessity and priority, with the aim of conserving these emblematic creatures, implemented the activity for the “Development of a Pan-Mediterranean Stranding Protocol & Database” in the framework of the project “Conservation of Marine Turtles in the Mediterranean Region”.
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