safeguarding the future of protected marine areas in the Mediterranean
sustainable financing of protected marine areas in the Mediterranean
Developing marine protected areas (MPAs) is one of the major levers for better protection of the ocean. However, these areas must receive sufficient and sustainable funding to ensure that this protection is long-lasting. This is the purpose of the MedFund in the Mediterranean, an initiative supported by the Oceanographic Institute.
Once PMAs have been created, what is next?
A marine protected area (MPA) is a marine space where human activities are more strictly regulated than in the surrounding waters, in order to preserve biodiversity and ecosystem services.
These delimited areas meet the objectives of long-term nature protection. Most of the MPAs make it possible to reconcile protection issues with the sustainable development of activities such as small-scale fishing and responsible tourism.
Their modes of governance most often involve all the stakeholders concerned (users, elected representatives, experts, etc.) in the management of the classified marine area. However, the vast majority of sites protected in this way do not have sufficient financial resources to achieve their management objectives, to the extent that several hundred MPAs in the world have no budget at all.
Monaco behind an initiative for sustainable financing
MEDFUND (formerly the Association for the Sustainable Financing of Mediterranean Marine Protected Areas) was created in 2015 on the initiative of the Principality of Monaco, France, Tunisia and the Prince Albert II of Monaco Foundation.
This association under Monegasque law aims to bring together governments, regional organisations involved in the conservation of Mediterranean ecosystems and members of civil society around the same objective: to develop and strengthen marine protected areas in the Mediterranean Sea for more sustainable management, by contributing to their financial autonomy and territorial integration.
In addition to mobilizing funds for the operation of existing areas, the MedFund is also committed to the creation of new MPAs. Thus, in the next 4 years, the association intends to support 18 new marine protected areas in the southern and eastern Mediterranean.
The Oceanographic Institute leads by example
As a member of the MedFund, the Institute of Oceanography is committed in two concrete ways to the sustainable financing of MPAs in the Mediterranean.
On the one hand, through the network of 11 aquariums to which the Oceanographic Museum of Monaco belongs. Under the banner #MyMedSea, this network promotes the MedFund’s actions through targeted communication actions with the public and institutional partners of each member.
In addition, the Oceanographic Museum of Monaco contributes to the financing of the fund managed by the MedFund via a contribution deducted from each paid admission to the Museum, at the rate of 0.05 € per ticket sold, i.e. approximately 30,000 € per year thanks to the 650,000 or so visitors received each year.