Malta Expands Habitat Protections in Mediterranean
The government of Malta has announced the designation or expansion of eight marine protected areas in the Mediterranean. This announcement is the result of Oceana efforts that began in 2013, and the protections are based on the findings of two Oceana expeditions (2015 and 2016 LIFE BaĦAR Expeditions). Oceana mapped out sandbanks, reefs and more than 89 marine caves through use of a Remotely Operated Vehicle (ROV) and scuba divers. After collecting and analyzing 310 hours of ROV footage and thousands of photos, we delivered a list of proposed sites for protection to the Maltese government that included seagrass meadows, bamboo coral gardens and habitat for cnidarians, sponges, a variety of other invertebrates and fish. With these new measures, 35 percent of Malta’s waters are now protected. As a designation made under the Natura 2000 framework, national authorities are now responsible for drafting a management plan within six years – a key step toward ensuring the continued protection of these areas.
La UE y 21 países protegen en el Mediterráneo corales de aguas frías en peligro de extinción
Con el apoyo de Oceana, cuatro especies de corales de profundidad resultan protegidas en el Mediterráneo. El Convenio de Barcelona, un organismo internacional marino dependiente de la ONU, vota a favor de añadir cuatro corales -coral árbol amarillo, coral cresta de gallo, coral candelabro y coral bambú- a la lista de especies amenazadas y en peligro en el Mediterráneo. Esta medida protegerá a dichos animales y contribuirá a asegurar la supervivencia de la fauna que vive en sus jardines de coral y depende de ellos. Los miembros del Convenio de Barcelona son Argelia, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Chipre, Croacia, Egipto, Eslovenia, España, Francia, Grecia, Israel, Italia, Líbano, Libia, Malta, Marruecos, Mónaco, Montenegro, Siria, Túnez, Turquía y la Unión Europea.
Leer comunicado de prensa
As a result of Oceana’s advocacy, four deep-sea coral species will now be protected in the Mediterranean. The UN’s Barcelona Convention, a multi-country regional sea convention, voted in favor of adding four additional coral species – cockscomb cup coral, yellow-tree coral, yellow coral and bamboo coral – to the list of endangered or threatened species in the Mediterranean Sea. This action will protect these animals and help to ensure the survival of marine life that live and depend on these underwater coral gardens. The members of the Barcelona Convention include: Algeria, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Cyprus, Egypt, the European Union, France, Greece, Israel, Italy, Lebanon, Libya, Malta, Monaco, Montenegro, Morocco, Slovenia, Spain, Syria, Tunisia and Turkey.
Mediterranean countries have committed to develop new management measures for vulnerable marine ecosystems (VMEs) by 2018 at the latest. These unique ecosystems include cold water coral reefs, gardens of soft corals and deep-sea sponge aggregations, which are frequently associated with high levels of biodiversity. The first action will be to define a list of Mediterranean VME species, habitats, and related geological features (such as seamounts and canyons) as soon as possible, to be approved by the General Fisheries Commission for the Mediterranean Scientific Advisory Committee in spring 2017.
On May 6th, the Danish government released its long-awaited decision to establish new marine protected areas (MPAs) in the Kattegat. The MPAs will protect fragile and threatened soft bottom species and habitats, such as sea pens and Haploops, which are largely left unprotected throughout European waters. Once in place, the 590 km2 areas, spread over nine fragmented regions, will defend key ecosystems that play an important role in maintaining healthy fish stocks.