The Oceanography Centre (OC) of the University of Cyprus (UCy) has received €45,000 from the European Union to map marine protected areas (MPA) in Cyprus and the Aegean, it was announced on Thursday.
The project, which will be implemented in cooperation with UCy’s Department of Biological Sciences and other partners from Greece and Italy, aims to propose new MPA networks in the two regions.
“Mapping existing MPAs aims to estimate the total supply in fish stock and the coordinated development of new MPA networks to boost populations of harvested species,” the announcement said.
Apart from mapping the main fishing grounds of the two regions, the research programme, called PROTOMEDEA: Towards the establishment of Marine Protected Area Networks in the Eastern Mediterranean, “will investigate the effects of MPAs in achieving the maximum performance of fisheries,” the announcement said.
In addition, the ECOPATH model will be developed, it said, an ecological modelling software, which assesses the impact of fishing on the ecosystem, the contribution of MPAs in the ecosystem, as well as the current overall contribution of MPAs to the sustainability of fish stocks.
The project is part of a three-year European research programme, with an estimated budget €600,000. It began in December 2015 under the coordination of the Hellenic Centre for Marine Research.