Foundation research

Marilles Majorca Foundation | Event on Marine Protected Areas in Palma

A hundred scientists and managers of marine protected areas (MPAs) 18 European countries met in Palma this week share the results of the European Interreg MED MPA NETWORKS and MPA Engage projects. From June 14-17, MedPAN, the Institute of Marine Sciences of the Spanish National Research Council (CSIC) and the Marilles Foundation hosted this event in a hybrid format.

It is no coincidence that the Balearic Islands are the Mediterranean capital of MPAs. With 20% of the sea protected, one of the largest national parks in the Mediterranean and a network of marine reserves that help improve fish populations, the Balearic Islands can be a leader in marine protection at the Mediterranean level. However, we have a lot of homework to do and a lot to learn. For example, the highly protected surface of the Balearic Sea is 50 times smaller than it should be in 2030 and we have less than 8 years to achieve this.

MPAs are an essential tool for the conservation of the sea. Although we have a strong network of MPAs, we need to expand and improve this network to maximize its potential. The current key concepts are vigilance, monitoring, coordination, participation and investment.

This final event saw discussions on the main results and recommendations of these two European projects which focused on key issues for MPAs: management effectiveness, small-scale fisheries management, conservation of mobile species, sustainable financing and adaptation to climate change. The participants contributed to scaling up the solutions identified in the projects and formulated key recommendations for decision-makers for the benefit of the entire Mediterranean MPA community.

The project, 85% funded by the Interreg MED program and coordinated by MedPAN, brought together ten Mediterranean partnersmainly MPA management organizations from seven countries: Albania, Croatia, France, Greece, Italy, Slovenia and Spain.

In addition to organizing the final event, Marilles played a very important role in the MPA NETWORKS project. The results of the study in Cala Rajada-Llevant — which show that €10 profit is generated for every €1 invested in this MPA — have had international repercussions and the methodology is used in other parts of the Mediterranean.

By 2025, the Balearic Islands could have a network of MPAs guaranteeing the future of professional fishing, differentiating an authentically sustainable tourist model, is a source of leisure and well-being, and strengthens many economic activities. This is what we are working towards.