Marine Protected Areas: a tool for the conservation of Mediterranean cetaceans

About 100 Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) of different types, sizes and purposes have been established in several Mediterranean countries, but specific measures for cetacean conservation are rarely included in their management plans.

If appropriately managed, MPAs could contribute to cetacean conservation by preserving their prey and habitat, reducing the risks of mortality in fishing gear, providing ‘refuge’ from noise and other types of disturbance, raising awareness, stimulating research and facilitating exchange of information.

Other types of action that can provide direct or indirect benefits include area-, season-, or fishery-specific reductions in fishing effort, changes to fishing gear or fishing practices to reduce incidental mortality, curtailment of inputs of toxic pollutants, and boating regulations.


MPAs for Mediterranean and Black Sea cetaceans proposed by ACCOBAMS (map by Lesley Frampton and Erich Hoyt / WDCS). The already established Pelagos Sanctuary is shown in blue. Click on the map for larger view.


Existing protected areas for cetaceans in Mediterranean waters

(please follow the links)

The Pelagos Sanctuary

The Losinj Dolphin Reserve


More information on Marine Protected Areas

MPA global - A database of the world’s Marine Protected Areas
This project falls within the Sea Around Us Project, an activity initiated and funded by the Pew Charitable Trusts, and hosted by the University of British Columbia's Fisheries Centre. It is the result of a formal collaboration between the Sea Around Us Project, World Wildlife Fund (WWF), United Nations Environment Programme - World Conservation Monitoring Centre (UNEP-WCMC) and the World Conservation Union - World Commission on Protected Areas (IUCN-WCPA). This project has two main goals: firstly, to develop a more robust global marine protected area (MPA) baseline than currently exists; and secondly, to develop alternative scenarios of global MPA networks using spatial modelling techniques.
Sponsored by WDCS, this site is dedicated to the conservation of the critical habitats of whales, dolphins and porpoises in national waters and on the high seas of the world ocean. You will find explanations of key marine protected area (MPA) terms such as critical habitat and ecosystem-based management; excerpts from Erich Hoyt’s book Marine Protected Areas for Whales, Dolphins and Porpoises; an interactive directory and poster-map of the more than 500 MPAs and sanctuaries for cetaceans, both proposed and existing; news about MPAs and interviews with cetacean experts, and a detailed resource section with links and downloads.