Protecting marine biodiversity in Lebanon

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Marine protected areas (MPAs) have gained world recognition as effective tools to protect the marine environment, and are much in favor in the Mediterranean, where about a hundred of them have been declared during the recent decades to grant special protection to sites perceived to contain the most valuable marine habitats and species. Embattled by the complexities of saving their sea as a whole, the Mediterranean nations have resolved to carve out their remaining crown’s jewels from the marine wasteland, and struggle to conserve them through MPA designations.

In Lebanon, there are two legally declared marine protected areas: the Palm Islands Nature Reserve in the North and the Tyre Coast Nature Reserve in the South. The project “Supporting the Management of Important Marine Habitats and Species in Lebanon” currently executed in partnership by the Ministry of Environment (MoE) and the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) aims at supporting the development of a network of Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) and an associated monitoring programme to evaluate their management effectiveness in Lebanon.