Oceana welcomes yesterday’s decisions adopted by the Mediterranean countries and the EU at the Barcelona Convention to protect eleven species of deep-sea corals and implement the Action Plan on Dark Habitats. This scientific document, partly drafted by Oceana, will enable the creation of marine protected areas for seamounts, submarine canyons and caves.
“To have eleven new protected species of deep-sea corals is a huge victory for the Mediterranean Sea”, declared Ricardo Aguilar, research director at Oceana in Europe. “Never before have deep-sea species and habitats had such a prominent role at an international convention. From now on there will be no excuses for not identifying new potential marine protected areas in the deep-sea”.
The 18th COP to the Barcelona Convention was held between the 3rd and 6th of December in Istanbul (Turkey) and attended by the 21 Mediterranean countries and the European Union. The decisions formally adopted can be described as an historic milestone because, until now, the conservation of habitats with no access to sunlight has been overlooked, despite their importance to the breeding and feeding of species of commercial interest.