Europe and Central Asia
20 Oct 2014

Using SEA for the conservation of Marine Protected Areas, Albania

SEA Med project, Albania (CEPF Med RIT)
By Shaun Hurrell

Story by Critical Ecosystems Partnership Fund Mediterranean Hotspot Regional Implementation Team 

This is the latest update from a project in Albania where sustainable tourism is being developed to protect the Karaburun-Sazan Marine National Park and the surrounding area, led by the Institute of Nature Conservation in Albania (INCA) and funded by CEPF. By increasing awareness of the benefits of Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) – both for locals and visiting tourists – it hopes to develop a range of sustainable, economic, nature-based tourism initiatives. Thus the name of the project: ‘SEA Med’ meaning ‘Sustainable Economic Activities in Mediterranean Marine Protected Areas’.

Through this work the team also released a</br>marine turtle which was caught by fishermen</br>and then tagged by an expert from the </br>University of Tirana in cooperation with the</br>fisherman and diver association.

Last month INCA were busy creating a short film to promote the biodiversity and tourism value of the Karaburun-Sazan area MPA. By engaging an international film maker to produce high quality material, it is hoped that the film will be an important tool in developing sustainable tourism within the Vlora region. The film includes interviews, underwater scenes, landscapes, and when produced will be distributed to a broad audience, including: tour operators, the media, schools, as well as being played at specific events.  In addition a condensed version (one minute) will be posted on the web including social media for a broader audience.

In September, as part of ongoing work to develop a Management Plan for the Karaburun-Sazan Marine Park and Sazani Island, INCA together with WWF Mediterranean Program (WWF MedPO), Conservatoire du Littoral (CdL), Albanian Ministry of Environment, and the National Coastal 

SEA Med workshop

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Agency organised two workshops, entitled: ‘Developing the zoning proposal’ and ‘Sazani Island, a new protected area in Albania?’ Despite having different objectives, both workshops share a common goal: the development of the first management plan for the Marine Park and the Island of Sazan. The team aim to develop a mechanism to move towards sustainable development of the protected area, and to help develop the economy of the surrounding area. Both workshops are trying to strengthen the capacity and skills of government institutions, local authorities, MPA managers, NGOs, and practitioners in relevant authorities by providing them with the tools and know-how needed to improve the management of the existing Marine and Coastal Protected Areas, and to assist them in developing a Management Planning process.

Zamir Dedej from INCA reports from the field on this project:

BirdLife International - including its Middle East office and the BirdLife Partners DOPPS/BirdLife Slovenia and LPO (Ligue pour la Protection des Oiseaux, BirdLife in France) - is providing the Regional Implementation Team (RIT) for the Critical Ecosystem Partnership Fund (CEPF) in the Mediterranean Basin Biodiversity Hotspot (CEPF Med).

Find out more at

The Critical Ecosystem Partnership Fund (CEPF) is a joint initiative of l’Agence Française de Développement (AFD), Conservation International (CI), the European Union, the Global Environment Facility (GEF), the Government of Japan, the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, and the World Bank. A fundamental goal is to ensure civil society is engaged in biodiversity conservation. More information on CEPF can be found at

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