In October of 2016, Oceana embarked on a 1-month at-sea expedition in the Mediterranean Sea to document and explore submarine canyons and deep-sea areas in Lebanese waters. This was Oceana Europe’s 25th expedition in 13 years and the fourth expedition in 2016. The expedition was the first that conducted research in the eastern shore of the Mediterranean. The main objective of this expedition was to establish marine protected areas (MPAs) in Lebanon and devise management plans to ensure that any potential MPAs identified in this expedition are subsequently protected from human activity by Lebanese authorities.
At present, only 4.5% of the entire Mediterranean has been legally protected from human activity and most of the current protected areas are located in shallow waters and not in deep-sea and submarine canyons, meaning there has been limited protection for benthic deep-sea habitats. The Lebanon expedition's findings are intended to help achieve a 10% target by 2020 to protect marine and coastal, as part of the Convention on Biodiversity’s Aichi Biodiversity targets for 2011-2020.
To find out more on the expedition, check out our on-board diaries!
This project was possible thanks to the generous support of MAVA Foundation. Key partners for implementation are IUCN and UNEP/MAP - RAC/SPA . The Lebanese Ministry of Environment is key member of the Steering Committee, and ACCOBAMS, GFCM and CNRS are supportive partners.