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Mapping of key marine habitats in the Mediterranean and promoting their conservation through the establishment of Specially Protected Areas of Mediterranean Importance (SPAMI)


Decembre 2013 - May 2016 (36 monthes)

Executing agency:

Regional Activity Centre for Specially Protected (RAC/SPA, Tunis, UNEP/MAP)


The project aims at establishing cartographic inventory of marine habitats of conservation interest to extend the Specially Protected Areas of Mediterranean Importance network (SPAMI), as required by Barcelona Convention's Protocol concerning Specially Protected Areas and Biological Diversity in the Mediterranean (SPA/BD  Protocol). This will assist the countries partners to implement the appropriate mesures in relation to the priorities of the SAP-BIO and the recommendations of the Action Plans for the conservation of marine vegetation , the conservation of the coralligenous and other calcareous bio-concretions in the Mediterranean Sea and the conservation of dark assemblages of the Mediterranean Sea (marine caves, canyons, etc…).

Beneficiary countries:

8 Mediterranean riparian countries, Albania, Algeria, Croatia, Egypt, Libya, Morocco, Montenegro and Tunisia

Source of funding:

MAVA Foundation

Project objectives, expected results and main activities

  • Objective 1: Elaboration of cartographic inventory of marine habitats of conservation interest
  • Expected results: a mapping of key habitats and the elaboration of the distribution Atlas of these elements in the Mediterranean.

    • Action 1: Undertake an inventory and characterization of the most important habitats and the ones that could be considered as natural monuments by field survey
    • Action 2: Mapping selected key habitats with conventional methods (transects, aerial photos) key habitats and / or innovative (satellite imagery and side-scan sonar)
    • Action 3: Strengthen existing monitoring networks and to initiate new one for key habitats
    • Action 4: Communicating on key habitats and their role, on the progress and results of the studies and monitoring undertaken
    • Action 5: Provide training for national experts on the techniques used

    These actions will be implemented on a pilot site to be chosen in common agreement with the RAC/SPA focal point.

    Beneficiary countries: Algeria, Libya, Morocco and Tunisia.

  • Objective 2: Strengthening of SAPMI network
  • Expected results: Proposals for the creation of new ASPIM taking into account the distribution of key habitats to help improve the representativeness of the network of marine protected areas in the Mediterranean.

    • Action 6: To organize a seminar in order to discuss the SPAMI list, and in particular by assessing the listed sites and proposing new ones for inclusion on the list. To the seminar, will be invited SPAMI managers, scientists, policy makers and donors.
    • Action 7: Assist countries to nominate sites for inclusion on the SPAMI list by providing the necessary expertise in accordance with of the procedure adopted (Article 9 of the SPA / BD Protocol).

    Beneficiary countries: Albania, Croatia, Egypt, Libya and Montenegro.

Download the MedKeyHabitats Project Brochure:




For more information on the MedKeyHabitats Project, please contact Mr. Atef Ouerghi: