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Fisheries governance in the Marine Protected Areas: Potential for 'Blue Economy' (FishMPABlue)
Start date: Jun 30, 2014, End date: Jun 29, 2015 PROJECT  FINISHED 

Mediterranean Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) have multiplied in recent years, with a significant influence on local socio-economies, and artisanal fisheries. The benefits of MPAs for local fisheries become evident with an increase of catches over time, thus of profits for fishermen. In the short term however, their creation is often subject to strong opposition from local fishermen, who perceive MPAs as limiting their activities (e.g. due to the loss of available fishing grounds) and incomes. The FishMPABlue project addresses and proposes solutions to existing and potential conflicts. It involves key actors in the planning of conservation measures and fishery regulation processes in a context of sustainable governance involved in Blue Economy. FishMPABlue intends to start from few successful experiences of co-management between MPAs and fishermen, and develop new means of suports for artisanal fishery, within and around MPAs. Expected Results: • QUALITATIVE STUDY ON EXISTING CONFLICTS, IMPACTS, SYNERGIES, ETC. AND IDENTIFICATION OF BEST PRACTICES AT MEDITERRANEAN LEVEL 31 MPAs (from 5 countries: Spain, France, Italy, Greece, Croatia), having a management body formally established, were the case studies. A questionnaire and literature analysis were the data sources for identifying the Best Practices (BP), carrying out a Stakeholder and a SWOT analyses. The results show that there are few key attributes for defining a BP: MPA enforcement, fishermen engagement, incentives for sustainable fishing, management plan. Among stakeholders, besides the obvious ones (e.g. fishermen) some others (diving centers, restaurants) play an important role. The SWOT confirmed that besides the numerous strengths, the main weaknesses are the low level of stakeholders’ engagement in MPA management, while opportunities show a high potential for sustainable fishery and Blue Economy.• IDENTIFICATION OF ALL THE POTENTIAL BLUE ECONOMY-RELATED SECTORS LINKED TO FISHING ACTIVITIES IN MEDITERRANEAN MPAS The possibilities for Blue Economy related to small scale fisheries are numerous: from a “value-chain” approach (“zero Km” restaurants, transformation factories, promo-trading management, branding, etc.) to the certification of the quality of halieutic resources (especially for under-estimated commercial species). Of course, there is a need of public incentives measures (e.g. training, equipment renovation, preferential access to fish resources, etc.) and promotion/communication of a multi-purpose fishery SMEs (pescaturismo, handicraft, ittiturismo, cooking, etc.). Finally, networking with other MPAs on tourism, fish commercialization, fund raising, etc. can be very effective.• MODEL OF FISHING GOVERNANCE (BY MPA MANAGERS AND NATIONAL RELEVANT INSTITUTIONS) MATCHING CONSERVATION GOALS AND SUPPORTS/ENHANCES THE LOCAL ECONOMY There is a wide range of different models, from the formal centralized system (as an MPA managed by a Ministry) to voluntary initiatives for marine environment conservation by fishermen cooperatives/associations. FishMPABlue is finalizing a "Toolkit for planning and managing sustainable small scale fishery in and around MPAs", i.e. a set of feasible actions/measures in order to have a satisfactory level of conservation through an actual involvement of main stakeholders (primarily artisanal fishermen) in the governance system• IDENTIFICATION OF THE MAIN STAKEHOLDERS AND POTENTIAL PARTNERS FOR A PROJECT WHICH TEST SUCH A MODEL IN PILOT MPAS MPA managing authorities, local small scale fishermen, as well as competent ministries and other public institutions (e.g. Port Authorities) will be involved in the new project's activities. Potential partners are the FishMPABlue ones plus those of the Advisory Panel members who showed a great interest towards the next stage of our strategy.
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