The LIFE MareNatura projects takes action for the protection of marine biodiversity

Responding to the challenges marine biodiversity faces in the Aegean, Ionian, and Southern Adriatic seas, the environmental project “LIFE MareNatura – Conservation of priority species of marine megafauna in Greece and Italy” was launched in July 2023 and is expected to be completed in 2029.

The aim of the project is the effective protection of nine vulnerable species of the Greek marine fauna (the Mediterranean Monk Seal, the Loggerhead Turtle, the Green Turtle, the Sperm Whale, the Harbour Porpoise, the Cuvier’s Beaked Whale, the Common Dolphin, the Yelkouan Shearwater and the Audouin’s Gull) and their habitats.

By collecting data on migration routes, feeding grounds, congregation areas and threats to these species, it will be possible to identify which areas are important for them so that they can be placed under protection.

By proposing and eventually declaring new Marine Protected Areas, the project will contribute to the implementation of the country’s national, European and international commitments to designate at least 30% of the sea and land area as protected by 2030. Such a perspective is fully in line with the objectives of the “Our Ocean Conference 2024” that Greece is hosting on 15-17 April 2024.

LIFE MareNatura is the largest marine biodiversity protection project ever developed in Greece and is expected to contribute decisively to the implementation of the European Union’s Biodiversity Strategy for 2030.

The project is implemented by a broad consortium of actors (research and academic institutions, public bodies, environmental NGOs and private environmental consultancy companies) coordinated by the Hellenic Centre for Marine Research (HCMR).

The project partners are: Natural Environment & Climate Change Agency (NECCA), University of the Aegean, University of Crete (Natural History Museum of Crete), National Observatory of Athens, Hellenic Ornithological Society, Hellenic Society for the Study and Protection of the Monk seal (MOm), ARCHELON-The Sea Turtle Protection Society of Greece, Mediterranean Association to Save the Sea Turtles (MEDASSET), Nature Conservation Consultants (NCC Ltd), Italian Institute for Environmental Protection and Research (ISPRA), WaterProof B.V.

The Green Tank will contribute as an external policy expert, aiming at informing policy makers about the scientific data on important marine biodiversity hotspots, while also providing evidence-based proposals for designating new Marine Protected Areas.

The LIFE MareNatura project, with a total budget of almost €11 million, is co-funded by the European Union by 75%.

More information is available in the relevant press release by Medasset.