Marine Research Findings of the VECTORS Project

This website provides access to the research results of the VECTORS project, which can be used to support marine management decisions, policies and governance as well as future research and investment. VECTORS was a large scale project that brought together more than 200 expert researchers from 16 different countries. It examined the significant changes taking place in European seas, their causes, and the impacts they will have on society.

Understanding of the implementation processes, evolution and conflicts of interests in the Sinis MPA (Sardinia)

Four detailed ‘Stakeholder Case Studies’ were undertaken for the VECTORS project (Dogger Bank, Catalonia, Puck Bay and Sinis MPA) in addition to a more general assessment of the main barriers to and drivers for successful European marine resource management. The Italian case study focused on the Marine Protected Area (MPA) of the Penisola del Sinis – Isola di Mal di Ventre (Sinis MPA), Gulf of Oristano, in Sardinia1. The main objective of the stakeholder interviews was to gain a better understanding of the implementation process of the MPA and its evolution as well as to gather information about the different views and interests of the main stakeholders. The key stakeholders identified within this case study included managers, politicians, recreation boat owners associations, diving schools, hotel owners and fishers.

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The main constraints for successful marine management which were identified for the Sinis MPA included excessive fishing, cultural behaviour, a low level of tourism, bad management of funds, and a lack of dialogue between the main local stakeholders.

The semi-structured interviews identified four main barriers to the successful management of the Sinis MPA: (1) different perceptions of the management objectives of the MPA amongst different stakeholders; politicians privilege fishermen over all other stakeholders, there is a lack of sensitivity for and public awareness of environmental issues, a lack of interaction between stakeholders, fishermen are seen as the major beneficiaries of the MPA establishment and therefore all other stakeholders consider themselves as outsiders; (2) dialogue - stakeholders complained about the lack of an institution and a physical place where they could express their opinion and engage in a dialogue with the competent authorities; (3) lack of money - the (low) budget for the MPA is allocated by the Ministry of Environment which makes available little money for communication, the budget for surveillance is very limited; and (4) the effectiveness of the MPA; little is known locally about the formal environmental recognition, very few conservation objectives have been achieved, and there is a lack of proper utilisation of resources (e.g. development of fishing as a tourist attraction or other types of tourism) limiting the economic development.

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The case study assessed the main reasons for the strong political influence of fishermen on the Cabras local municipality and suggested a number of conflict resolution measures and strategies including the increase of controls.

As a result of the stakeholder interviews, a number of policy recommendation have been proposed that could be of use for the improvement of the Sinis MPA: (1) involve multiple municipalities other than Cabras to create a consortium of municipalities for the Sinis MPA. This may reduce the influence of fishermen from Cabras on the local municipality; (2) increase controls (including MPA rangers); (3) create a specific office within the MPA for communication and dialogue purposes; and (4) increase public awareness of the importance of the MPA through environmental education activities for both adults and young people.

Relevance for Policy:
  • Convention on Biological Diversity
  • Directive on Maritime Spatial Planning and Integrated Coastal Management (forthcoming)
  • EU Biodiversity Strategy
  • ICZM Protocol to the Barcelona Convention
  • Integrated European Maritime Policy (IMP)
  • Marine Strategy Framework Directive
  • Strategic Environmental Assessment Directive
  • Water Framework Directive

References

Lead Author:

Paolo Magni
(paolo.magnospamni@cnr.it)
Institute for Coastal Marine Environment of the National Research Council (IAMC-CNR)
Date of research: July 2012

Related articles:

Risk assessment of sea urchin fishery in an MPA

Deliberative valuation and the Dogger Bank 

Dogger Bank: stakeholder and policy-maker needs 

Could MPAs mitigate the effects of fishing? 

The endangered limpet Patella ferruginea in an MPA

Activities influencing fisher location choice 

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This project has received funding from the European Union’s Seventh Framework Programme for research, technological development and demonstration under grant agreement no 266445
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