Fishing governance in MPAs:
Potentialities for Blue Economy 2 (FishMPABlue 2 project):
The case of the National Marine Park of Zakynthos
FishMPABlue 2 project is the follow-up of the FishMPABlue project (July 2014-June 2015) funded by INTERREG MED Programme 2007-2013. During the FishMPABlue project a “regional-based governance toolkit” was developed so as to enhance management and governance effectiveness of small scale fishery (SSF) within and around a set of Mediterranean Marine Protected Areas (MPAs). In this respect FishMPABlue project concluded that fish stocks are healthier, fishermen incomes are higher and the social acceptance of management practices is fostered if a set of attributes (key-elements) is present in an MPA (i.e. high MPA enforcement, presence of a management plan, fishermen engagement in MPA management, fishermen representative in the MPA board, and promotion of sustainable fishing). In the light of these findings, the FishMPABlue2 project is engaging 11 Pilot MPAs in 6 Mediterranean countries (Spain, France, Italy, Slovenia, Croatia and Greece) with the aim to test the effectiveness of the governance toolkit in generating ecological and socio-economic benefits in MPAs and SSF, respectively as well as in strengthening the social acceptance of management measures by stakeholders. To this end, a “Local Governance Cluster – LGC” composed by MPAs management agency and local small scale fishermen is being created in order to select the set of governance tools to be implemented in each Pilot MPA under the coordination of the MPA managing body and with the consultation of the relevant project partner. At the same time assessment of the ecological, economic and social status of each MPA and the potential effect of the selected governance tools will be carried out both before implementing the governance tools (“before phase”) and after its implementation (“after phase”). Data gathering will be achieved through the implementation of Underwater Visual Census (UVC), Baited Underwater Video systems (BUVs) and Squidpops techniques well as through the recording of SSF landings in the field and the implementation of questionnaires surveys for the quantification of the socio-economic parameters. These actions will allow the project partnership to evaluate and thus improve the “governance toolkit” and to disseminate it towards other MPAs in the Mediterranean. In parallel a know-how exchange activity involving the 11 pilot MPAs will be carried out, in order to capitalize, exchange and transfer the results of the individual implementation, featured in communication tools (e.g. thematic brochures) and of several cross-fertilization formats (e. g exchange visits, training courses, experience exchange conference, dissemination at national level events, online platform) where the partners will be able to share common challenges and solutions. The National Marine Park of Zakynthos (NMPZ) (Southern Ionian Sea, Greece) is the eastern most Mediterranean MPA that participates in the project as a pilot area while it is actively involved in both data gathering and governance tools’ implementation and evaluation. Enhanced enforcement of spatial and temporal restrictions for fisheries, increased engagement of fishermen in fishery management through participative processes and promotion of sustainable fishing practices are among the selected governance tools in the MPA of the NMPZ.