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Energy, Climate change, Environment

Marine Protected Areas

The MPAs Challenge aimed to:

  • Analyze the existing Mediterranean network of MPAs
  • Determine whether the network constituted a representative and coherent network as described in article 13 of the Marine Strategy Framework Directive

This Challenge contributed in parallel to the data collection framework for checkpoint information and report assessment results in the literature survey and data adequacy reports.


The Mediterranean network of MPAs was assessed through adequacy, representativity and coherence as MSFD states. The criteria adopted in 2009 by the Contracting Parties to the Barcelona Convention was also taken into account. A GIS-based tool to visualize the main outcomes of the assessment was used.


The production of Targeted Products was accomplished by applying the following methodology:

  • The necessary input characteristics and the available databases were identified
  • The accessibility/availability of the data sets was analyzed and the data policy of all the sources was strictly followed.
  • The data sets were downloaded and processed to be in the appropriate format for their conversion into GIS layers.
  • Each GIS layer corresponded to one data set and contained all the relative information. For instance, for the MPAs, an excel table was associated.
  • For each Targeted Product an individual workflow was created in a GIS (mxd) file. In this way, the Targeted Product layers could be optionally combined and visualized.

Data Sources

A wide range of data sources were assessed and reviewed for the challenge. Primary sources of the data sets for Marine Protected areas were: MedPAN, IUCN, EEA, CoCoNET, MEDISEH, IRIS-SES, EMODnet Seabed Habitats, EMODnet Bathymetry, Copernicus Marine Environment Monitoring Service (CMEMS). Scientific review Arcticles on Mediterranean biodiversity.

Targeted Products

Name of Targeted product Short description Format
MEDSEA_CH2_Product_1 Med protection initiatives (management and conservation areas). Collated data set (excel file) containing information on MPA extension areas and different protection levels for each of them excel files
Full description and quality information:
MEDSEA_CH2_Product_2 Med conservation areas, biological zones, fisheries restricted areas. Shape file with the layers containing the information as in MEDSEA_CH2_Product_1 and depth zones. shapefile
Full description and quality information:
MEDSEA_CH2_Product_3 Proposed regional conservation areas in the Mediterranean.  etc. shapefile
Full description and quality information:
MEDSEA_CH2_Product_4 Qualitative analysis of connectivity between MPAs. Combination of MPA, temperature, currents seasonal GIS layers shapefile
Full description and quality information:
MEDSEA_CH2_Product_5 Representativity of habitats/species/other features. Combination of bathymetry, MPA, seagrass distributions, Cetaceans, light, habitats substrate, Natura sites shapefile
Full description and quality information:
MEDSEA_CH2_Product_6 The monitoring capacity of biodiversity in MPAs. Combination MPA and monitoring stations for biodiversity elements shapefile
Full description and quality information:

Final Challenge ReportMedSea Checkpoint Challenge 2 (Marine Protected Areas): Description of Targeted Products, the methodology and the expert evaluation of fitness for purpose
How to Cite: “Reizopoulou, S., Kyriakidou, C., Katara, I., Katara, I., Giannoulaki, M., & Simoncelli, S. (2017). EMODnet MedSea CheckPoint Challenge 2 (Marine Protected Areas) Report. European Marine Observation and Data Network.

Team Involved

Sofia Reizopoulou (HCMR), Chara Kyriakidou (HCMR), Simona Simoncelli (INGV), Nadia Pinardi (INGV), Isidora Katara (HCMR), Marianna Giannoulaki (HCMR), Laura Bray (HCMR)