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Conservation of cetaceans and turtles in Andalusia and Murcia (Cetáceos Mediterráneo)
Date du début: 1 juil. 2002, Date de fin: 30 juin 2006 PROJET  TERMINÉ 

Background Society continues to intensively exploit the natural resources of the sea with little awareness of their value. Natural conditions, too, have impeded studying, monitoring and integral management of marine environments. Users of marine resources are not yet fully integrated into appropriate management models aimed at conserving marine habitats and species. As large marine animals, cetaceans and turtles are good indicators of the state of the sea suffering directly from environmental pressures. This includes over-fishing, use of inappropriate fishing techniques and accidental capture, pollution, destruction of sea bottoms through various activities and maritime traffic. Insufficiently regulating tourist observation of cetaceans has worsened matters. Objectives Within the framework of the Habitats Directive, this project aimed to develop management models for both turtles and cetaceans as well as those areas important for their conservation as agreed with relevant stakeholders and interest groups. The project area, on the southern coast of the Iberian Peninsula, is of great interest for the above species acting as a corridor between the Mediterranean and the Atlantic. It is also important due to the substantial feeding and breeding areas. The project was to develop a range of activities from devising plans to manage habitats, species and applied research to raising awareness in whole sectors of society. Key elements in this project were consensus with users and managers of the sea and developing activities on the basis of local participation. Many of the planned actions, such as waste removal or reducing the impact of fishing techniques on turtles are to serve as examples for the future, thanks to the participation of social groups which depend on the sea. Results This project has produced highly satisfactory results with many working documents, protocols and materials being generated and implemented. Key foundations have been set for management planning with all relevant parties. Awareness raising and dissemination activities were fully satisfactory and target species and site monitoring is operational. Fieldwork is providing information that feeds the models and software set to provide key scientific and technical information for proposing management measures. Given the economic importance of agriculture, fishing and tourism in the neighbouring Spanish regions of Murcia and Andalucía, this project, aimed at marine ecosystem conservation, has proved itself an important element of long term socio-economic development.


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