Small Grant Program Seeks to Boost Marine Protections in Mediterranean

Regional group invites marine protected area managers to apply for new funding

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Small Grant Program Seeks to Boost Marine Protections in Mediterranean
In the foreground, a fish swims past seagrass in the aquamarine waters off the coast of Cadaqués, Spain, a village of whitewashed buildings with terra cotta roofs. A pale yellow sailboat with burgundy trim is moored along the town’s shoreline.
Fish and seagrasses in the waters just off the coast of Cadaqués in northeastern Spain’s Costa Brava region of Catalonia. A regional nonprofit is offering grants to help strengthen marine protected areas in places like this throughout the Mediterranean.
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The Mediterranean nonprofit MedPAN is inviting regional organizations to apply for grants to help strengthen marine protected areas (MPAs) in the Mediterranean Sea.

This new grant program is part of the Pew Bertarelli Ocean Legacy Project’s broader initiative to establish a science-based network of highly and fully protected MPAs within the region’s 46,000 kilometers (28,600 miles) of coastline bordering 21 countries.

The world’s second-largest biodiversity hot spot, the Mediterranean is also among the regions most vulnerable to rising temperatures caused by climate change, according to the International Union for Conservation of Nature.

Yet only 0.23% of the Mediterranean’s waters are designated as fully and highly protected MPAs, compared with 2.4% of the global ocean.

Highly and fully protected MPAs are the most efficient tool for conserving marine ecosystems, safeguarding biodiversity, and boosting fisheries and the economies that depend on them.

A growing body of research shows that strong protections are vital to conservation, long-term food security, and ocean-based livelihoods.

To help improve protection levels in the Mediterranean, Pew Bertarelli Ocean Legacy has partnered with MedPAN to promote high protection within existing MPAs or locations in the region that are undergoing an MPA designation process.

Organizations that are responsible for or assist with MPA management in the Mediterranean qualify to apply for up to €45,000 (about $49,000) to support high-protection projects for one to two years. Applications must be submitted by Feb. 5, and all grant recipients will be required to provide a minimum of 25% of their project’s total budget.

Examples of eligible proposals include projects that would provide direct support to highly protected MPAs, improve their management, or develop tools that could be useful to other MPAs.

To learn more about the application process and proposal criteria, visit MedPAN’s website.

Jérôme Petit is based in France and leads the Pew Bertarelli Ocean Legacy Project’s work in the Mediterranean region. Katie Gray is based in the U.K. and also works on the Pew Bertarelli Ocean Legacy Project.

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