Case study 2: Ionian Sea

Responsible: Celia Vassilopoulou HCMR, Greece

The Greek Case Study is located between the western coasts of the central Greek peninsula and the Ionian Islands, namely the Inner Ionian Archipelagos and the outer part of the Patraikos gulf. It comprises a network of marine NATURA-2000 sites and includes the National Marine Park of Zakynthos (NMPZ).

Enhanced anthropogenic activities (fisheries, aquaculture, tourism, and shipping) occur along the coasts of the study area and in offshore waters. Growing conflicts exist between human uses and nature conservation as well as among the human uses themselves. Particularly in relation to fisheries, medium scale (i.e. trawlers and purse seiners) and mainly small-scale fishery vessels operate there. Moreover, one of the major fish farms in Greece focusing on the production of sea bass and sea bream is situated in the marine Natura of the Inner Ionian Archipelagos.

The latter site was established for the protection of specific cetacean species and has shown a dramatic deterioration of its status in recent years. In general, there is a lack of a holistic spatial management plan integrating all relevant policy areas, sectors, and levels of administration in the case study area. Indeed, aside from high-level policies, sectorial plans only exist for the different human activities on a national level (e.g. national aquaculture plan), and there is also a site-specific management plan for the NMPZ, while for Natura sites management plans are either non-existing or vague