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WWF in Action: The Mediterranean

Protecting the Sea in the ‘Middle of the Land’

Imagine a colossal fin whale plunging deep into the Mediterranean's azure depths. It lunges toward a school of krill, gulping down soupy, bus-sized mouthfuls. Another hunt takes place above water, as artisanal fishermen haul in sardines with special gear that eliminates bycatch. Bycatch are fish or other species that are caught unintentionally in a fishery while intending to catch other species.

They are not the only ones to enjoy the Med's bounty. Divers and tourists marvel at large groupers hiding behind rocks; red corals framed like underwater paintings; meter-tall pen shells dotting lush green meadows of posidonia. Each benefits without depleting the sea's resources. Man and nature, working together.

This is what life in the Mediterranean could be. WWF is working to establish a broad network of well-managed Mediterranean Marine Protected Areas (MPAs).

MPAs are slices of ocean and coastline set aside because of their ecological importance. They safeguard the Mediterranean's amazing marine life, protect fishermen's livelihoods, boost local economies and let tourists discover one of our planet's most stunning treasures.

Mediterranean nations have agreed to protect 10 percent of the Mediterranean by 2020; today, less than 4 percent is protected, and many existing MPAs are poorly managed.

MPAs and man are interconnected in ways that empower us both.

Photo © Michel Gunther/WWF-Canon

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