Threats to marine biodiversity in European protected areas

Antonios D. Mazaris, Athanasios Kallimanis, Elena Gissi, Carlo Pipitone, Roberto Danovaro, Joachim Claudet, Gil Rilov, Fabio Badalamenti, Vanessa Stelzenmüller, Lauric Thiault, Lisandro Benedetti-Cecchi, Paul Goriup, Stelios Katsanevakis, Simonetta Fraschetti

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Marine protected areas (MPAs) represent the main tool for halting the loss of marine biodiversity. However, there is increasing evidence concerning their limited capacity to reduce or eliminate some threats even within their own boundaries. Here, we analysed a Europe-wide dataset comprising 31,579 threats recorded in 1692 sites of the European Union's Natura 2000 conservation network. Focusing specifically on threats related to marine species and habitats, we found that fishing and outdoor activities were the most widespread threats reported within MPA boundaries, although some spatial heterogeneity in the distribution of threats was apparent. Our results clearly demonstrate the need to reconsider current management plans, standardise monitoring approaches and reporting, refine present threat assessments and improve knowledge of their spatial patterns within and outside MPAs in order to improve conservation capacity and outcomes.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)418-426
Number of pages9
JournalScience of the Total Environment
StatePublished - 10 Aug 2019
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2019 Elsevier B.V.


  • Conservation effectiveness
  • Conservation planning
  • Human-related activities
  • Protected areas network
  • Transboundary conservation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pollution
  • Waste Management and Disposal
  • Environmental Engineering
  • Environmental Chemistry


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