Large marine protected areas (LMPAs) in the Mediterranean Sea: The opportunity of the Adriatic Sea
The aim of this paper is to highlight current opportunities and expected benefits of establishing a transboundary large marine protected area (LMPA)-specifically a no-trawl area – in one of the most exploited sectors of the Mediterranean, the Adriatic Sea. A no-trawl area is examined as a strategy to foster recovery of the local marine ecosystems and economies, and to meet international conservation targets and EU legal mandates. Based on a review of published studies documenting the positive outcomes of previous trawling bans in other regions, and of current initiatives and opportunities within the Mediterranean region, it is concluded that large-scale protection of the Adriatic with a no-trawl zone is a promising and feasible approach for reversing ecological and socioeconomic losses in this basin. In particular, ecosystem protection can be established in the Mediterranean through a proposal for a Fisheries Restricted Area (FRA) to the general Fisheries Commission for the Mediterranean (GFCM). The successful establishment and function of a FRA or LMPA will depend on its support by the governments of the surrounding countries, as well as involvement and participation of key user groups.