PROTOMEDEA stands for “PROTecting MEDiterranean EAst” and is a project, in response to the call for “Marine Protected Areas: network(s) for the enhancement of sustainable fisheries in EU Mediterranean waters” (Ref. MARE/2014/41), funded by the European Union DG MARE, which will be running for 36 months (December 2015 till November 2018).

Its ultimate goal is to design a Marine Protected Area (MPA) network in the study areas, taking into account the protection of ecological characteristics and Essential Fish Habitats (EFH), significant areas for fisheries, as well as their socio-economic impacts through a participatory bottom-up process.

More specifically, the project focuses on proposing Marine Protected Area (MPA) networks aiming to achieve the Maximum Sustainable Yield (MSY) objectives of the Common Fisheries Policy (CFP). Within this context, mapping of existing MPAs and EFHs is foreseen, while the development of ECOPATH models in selected MPAs will be considered, using previous and new data, in order to assess the current overall contribution of MPAs in fisheries sustainability.

Additionally, what-if scenarios of MPAs’ impacts on MSY and ECOPATH/ECOSPACE models will be evaluated and discussed with a wide range of stakeholders in order to propose commonly agreed and more effective MPAs in the study areas. Moreover, different management schemes will be developed and examined in order to support the optimization of fisheries management.