In the Anthropocene, marine ecosystems are rapidly shifting to new ecological states. Achieving effective conservation of marine biodiversity has become a fast-moving target because of both global climate change and continuous shifts in marine policies. How prepared are we to deal with this crisis? We examined EU Member States Programs of Measures designed for the implementation of EU marine environmental policies, as well as recent European Marine Spatial Plans, and discovered that climate change is rarely considered operationally. Further, our analysis revealed that monitoring programs in marine protected areas are often insufficient to clearly distinguish between impacts of local and global stressors. Finally, we suggest that while the novel global Blue Growth approach may jeopardize previous marine conservation efforts, it can also provide new conservation opportunities. Adaptive management is the way forward (e.g., preserving ecosystem functions in climate change hotspots, and identifying and targeting climate refugia areas for protection) using Marine Spatial Planning as a framework for action, especially given the push for Blue Growth.
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Author contributions: G. Rilov conceived the idea for the study, S. Fraschetti, E. Gissi, E. Menini, and L. Tamburello performed the analysis; G. Rilov, S. Fraschetti, S. Katsanevakis, C. Pipitone, F. Badalamenti, E. Gissi, E. Menini, and L. Tamburello wrote the first draft of the manuscript and all authors contributed to later stages of the manuscript. This article is based upon ideas developed in two workshops in Naples in November 2017 and November 2018 organized as part of the COST Action 15121 ‘Advancing marine conservation in the European and contiguous seas (MarCons; www.marcons-cost.eu; Katsanevakis et al.) supported by COST (European Cooperation in Science and Technology, CA15121). It is also partly supported by an Israel Science Foundation grant to GR (grant no. 1982/16).
© 2019 The Authors. Ecological Applications published by Wiley Periodicals, Inc. on behalf of Ecological Society of America
- Blue Growth
- Mediterranean Sea
- adaptive management
- climate change
- marine protected areas
- marine special planning
- marine strategy framework directive
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