The Mediterranean Sea is one of the areas most affected by marine litter worldwide. Impacts include entanglement and ingestion, bio-accumulation and bio-magnification of toxic substances released from litter items, facilitating the introduction of invasive species and causing damage to benthic habitats. MPA managers stand at the forefront of this issue, however, they often lack the tools, knowledge and resources to effectively tackle it. As a result, it can be difficult to achieve set conservation goals.
Aim of the tool
The aim of this action is to contribute to the prevention and mitigation of the impacts of marine litter in Mediterranean MPAs.
The objective of these measures is to propose concrete actions to reduce or mitigate marine litter presence in Mediterranean MPAs.
Technical equipment may be necessary to perform monitoring, including a GPS tracker to record marine litter locations and a camera to document the characteristics of sites.
Some training is necessary to apply the appropriate protocols to monitor abandoned, lost and discarded derelict fishing gear (ALDFG).
Each measure entails organisational, implementation and equipment costs that are variable depending on the type of measure and scope of implementation. For example, equipment costs are related to monitoring activities, the provision of refillable and/or paper caps to the local enterprises, producing reusable cups, installing reverse-vending machines or collection bins in selected sites, or organising awareness-raising events and implementing communication activities.
A total of 9 demonstrations, categorised in 5 different types of measures, have been implemented, :
For each demonstration, the location, brief description, lines of action, expected results, performance indicators, target groups and contacts of implementing and coordinating partners are specified.
The final short-listing of marine litter measures to be considered for the pilots was made using a participatory process among all Plastic Busters MPAs project partners. This ensured the full consideration of MPA-specific contexts and characteristics, such as the marine litter pressure, organisational capacity and human resources and the institutional setup and management priorities. Plastic Busters MPAs monitoring campaigns were instrumental in generating fit-for-purpose marine litter data that pinpointed the selection of targeted measures for the demonstrations.
The proposed measures have been piloted in 9 Mediterranean MPAs in Greece (National Marine Park of Zakynthos, Thermaikos Gulf Protected Area), Italy (Miramare MPA, Pelagos Sanctuary, Tuscan Archipelago National Park), Slovenia (Strunjan Landscape Park), and Spain (Cabo de Gata-Nijar Natural Park-UNESCO Global Geopark, Cabrera Archipelago Maritime-Terrestrial National Park, Natural Park of Ebro Delta). They have been replicated in Albania (Karaburun-Sazan MPA), Croatia (Brijuni National Park), Montenegro (Platamuni MPA), and Slovenia (Debeli Rtič Landscape Park).
Implementation steps for each proposed measure are presented and illustrated in detail in the publication “ Showcases on how to prevent and mitigate marine litter in Mediterranean MPAs”.
The publication “Showcases on how to prevent and mitigate marine litter in Mediterranean MPAs” illustrates the experiences of piloting marine litter prevention and mitigation measures in pilot MPAs, including the challenges that were faced during the various phases.
By implementing the proposed measures, it is expected that the quantities of marine litter in Mediterranean MPAs are mitigated as a result of the widespread adoption of measures preventing their entry into the marine environment.
These measures can and should be adopted by other Mediterranean MPAs, as well as local managers and public authorities wishing to effectively address the issue of marine litter in their area of jurisdiction.
Greece (National Marine Park of Zakynthos, Thermaikos Gulf Protected Area), Italy (Miramare MPA, Pelagos Sanctuary, Tuscan Archipelago National Park), Slovenia (Strunjan Landscape Park), and Spain (Cabo de Gata-Nijar Natural Park-UNESCO Global Geopark, Cabrera Archipelago Maritime-Terrestrial National Park, Natural Park of Ebro Delta). They have been replicated in Albania (Karaburun-Sazan MPA), Croatia (Brijuni National Park), Montenegro (Platamuni MPA), and Slovenia (Debeli Rtič Landscape Park)
Distributed reusable cups in Zakynthos Marine Park
Distributed paper straws in Zakynthos Marine Park
Collected beverage containers in Cabo de Gata-Nijar Park
Project contact: Plastic Busters MPAs Interreg MED
MIO-ECSDE the Mediterranean Information Office for Environment, Culture and Sustainable Development
Links of interest
Foto credit: Thomais Vlachogianni