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Platamuni, first Marine Protected Area in Montenegro

On International Mother Earth Day, 22 April 2021, Montenegro has declared its first Marine Protected Area (MPA) in Platamuni. The value of biodiversity is the primary reason for this declaration.

The Nature Park "Platamuni" is accommodated in the northwest part of the coastal waters in Montenegro, including associated coastline between the Cape Žabica in the northwest and Cape Platamuni in southeast near the beach Ploče. The main reason for proclaiming this first MPA in Montenegro is protecting its ecologically important marine and coastal species and habitats (See the article on the official announcement, in Montenegrin).

The Platamuni area is characterized by its main marine cave at the south of Bigova, with at its entrance an extraordinary development of bio-constructions. It also hosts a vast Posidonia oceanica meadow on rock at the western side of Greben Kalafat, continuing by deep coralligenous assemblages on rock.

This particular area has benefited in recent years from the support of SPA/RAC, notably through regional projects on marine and coastal protected areas and key habitats mapping in the Mediterranean. 

From field surveys to protection measures

In the framework of the MedMPAnet project, implemented under the UNEP/MAP-GEF MedPartnership with the financial support of EC, AECID and FFEM, several survey missions (in 2008, 2011 and 2012) have been carried out along the Montenegrin coast to assess benthic and fish assemblages as well as human activities. The objective was to contribute to the definition of specific protection/management measures for the Montenegro coast. Following these surveys, the Platamuni area was identified as one of the three areas that deserve “priority protection”, due to its high habitat complexity and fish species richness (Read the assessment survey report).

The Platamuni area was further studied in the framework of the MedKeyHabitats project funded by MAVA Foundation. This beneficiary site was chosen in agreement with the Montenegrin Ministry for the Sustainable Development and Tourism, in order to improve knowledge of the area’s marine benthic habitats with a view to protecting them. A total surface area of 880 ha (8.4 km2) has been prospected and 220 marine species have been inventoried, including 23 species listed within international conventions. Several marine habitats of conservation interest have been identified and mapped, including Posidonia oceanica meadows and coralligenous biocenoses, which cover 38.62 ha and 1.93 ha, respectively (Read the report on marine habitats mapping).

Two strategies to come for a healthier Mediterranean

The declaration of the Platamuni area as an MPA is an important step for the conservation of biodiversity in the Mediterranean. MPAs can be an effective tool for the protection of important marine resources and the restoration of fragile ecosystems, when well-designed, well-managed and well-enforced. They can also bring considerable benefits to societies and support their economy.

SPA/RAC continues to support the Contracting Parties of the Barcelona Convention to better protect the Mediterranean Sea and coasts through its programme of work and externally funded projects, which help to implement nationally or regionally agreed conservation measures, or its strategies. In this respect, two new strategies are being developed by SPA/RAC: the post-2020 SAPBIO and the Post-2020 Regional Strategy for Marine Protected Areas and Other Effective area-based Conservation Measures in the Mediterranean.

These strategies benefit from broad consultative processes and will serve for the next decade as a common framework for marine and coastal biodiversity conservation in the Mediterranean. 

 

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published on 2021/07/20 15:01:43 GMT+0 last modified 2021-07-19T14:27:40+00:00