|Marine Natura 2000 Management: Experience from Spain
Currently Spain only has a very small network of marine Special Protection Areas (SPAs, according to the EU Birds Directive) designated by the regional governments and pending of management plans. In October 2011, however, the Spanish Government proposed to designate another 41 sites as SPAs, largely mirroring the inventory of marine Important Bird Areas (IBAs) elaborated by SEO/BirdLife in Spain. This would represent a comprehensive network of marine SPAs and would total over 50,000 km2.
This represents a significant step towards the attainment of a coherent network of well managed marine sites for seabirds in Spain, but the process of designation is still open. Moreover, to gain effective protection these sites will require of effective management plans in place. The proposal of SPAs under review includes the commitment of approving a detailed management plan specific for each site within two years after designation, and is accompanied of a document of general principles for management. However, this document is very weak as it was first proposed, and SEO/BirdLife is pressing to strengthen it. In the long term, to get effective management plans in place, one of the key issues will be to involve the relevant stakeholders in the process of elaborating the management plans.
SEO/BirdLife (BirdLife partner in Spain)
Pep Arcos, jmarcos(at)seo.org