The Mediterranean sea represents a 0,8% of the oceanic layer of the planet, however it hosts approximately 6,4% of the global marine biodiversity, around 17.000 species 20% of them being endemic, meaning they only live in the Mediterranean basin.
Scientists have claimed it is the most threatened marine ecosystem of the planet for a number of reasons such as:
- Human pressure: 200 million people live on the shores of its basin, 75% of coastline has been developed. 300 million tourists visit the Mediterranean each year, that is one third of the total international tourists worldwide
- Pollution: 200.0000 tons of plastic are dumped in it each year, representing 7% of the global plastic waste in the oceans. Only one third of the total plastic produced each year in Europe gets properly recycled.
- Overfishing: the Mediterranean is the world’s most overfished sea. 62% of its stocks are overfished and at serious risk of depletion.
- Climate Change: Rising sea temperatures have led to 700 non endemic species establishing in the Mediterranean, it also poses a major threat to the survival of endangered species such as the posidonia oceanica, the loggerhead turtle or the red coral among others
So what’s next?
The Mediterranean has 1.062 Marine Protected Areas, covering only 6,01% of the total surface.
95% of them have the same regulation than any regular unprotected area.
We need our governments to protect more marine areas and make sure regulations are properly enforced.
Marine Protected Areas are a safe way to help regenerate our oceans and stop the biodiversity loss.
photos by @marcdura