The Pelagos Sanctuary for Mediterranean marine mammals



  • 1.In February 2002, France, Italy and Monaco agreed to establish an international sanctuary for Mediterranean marine mammals. The resulting Pelagos Sanctuary encompasses over 87500 km2 of the north-western Mediterranean Sea, extending between south-eastern France, Monaco, north-western Italy and northern Sardinia, and surrounding Corsica and the Tuscan Archipelago.
  • 2.The Pelagos Sanctuary illustrates how the tenets of Marine Protected Area (MPA) design can be reconciled with the dynamic nature of oceanic systems, because its spatial scale was defined by oceanographic and ecological considerations, specifically the location of the Ligurian permanent frontal system.
  • 3.By expanding protective measures beyond national waters, the Pelagos Sanctuary also sets a precedent for the implementation of pelagic protected areas in the high seas. The Pelagos Sanctuary will contribute to the conservation of the Mediterranean Sea at two scales: (i) locally, by protecting important cetacean foraging and breeding grounds in the Ligurian Sea, and by providing ‘umbrella’ protection to other marine predators in this area; and (ii) regionally, by empowering other conservation measures, such as the Specially Protected Areas Protocol of the Barcelona Convention and the wider goals of the Agreement on the Conservation of Cetaceans of the Black and Mediterranean Seas (ACCOBAMS).
  • 4.However, because few cetacean species are resident within the Sanctuary, their effective long-term conservation will require large-scale management and coordinated monitoring throughout the Mediterranean basin.

Copyright © 2007 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.