Marine Protected Areas
Across the European region, protection of areas at sea remains minimal, meaning that marine life from coral to fish and seabirds and whales are not receiving the protection that they need in an increasingly busy ocean.MPAs are considered one of the most effective methods to protect species in their most critical habitats, where they feed, breed and migrate.
The slow progress in protecting the world’s oceans is often linked to the lack of detailed knowledge on where the most important areas are, and how to protect them. To assist with solving this problem, BirdLife has been working towards the identification, of marine important birds and biodiversity areas (marine IBA) for the last ten years, creating a global network of the most critical sites for seabirds, mapping of all these areas globally.
Marine IBAs are used as the scientific basis for formally designating Natura 2000 Special Protection Areas (SPAs), repeatedly recognised by the European Court of Justice as the relevant scientific reference for the designation of these sites. BirdLife’s IBA inventory is also the internationally accepted benchmark.
BirdLife believes that the full implementation of a marine Natura 2000 network is fundamental to achieve clean, healthy and productive (i.e. Good Environmental Status) of EU Seas and ensuring the sustainable use of the marine environment. We therefore believe that to achieve a successful spatial plan of the use of the seas of human activities (including fisheries, aquaculture, shipping, energy production etc.) the EU needs to know where, why, and how it needs to protect its marine areas.
Stichting BirdLife Europe gratefully acknowledges financial support from the European Commission. All content and opinions expressed on these pages are solely those of Stichting BirdLife Europe.