The objective is to draw a synthesis on large-scale analysis of environmental and socio-economic knowledge in order to assess the Mediterranean network of Marine Protected Areas (MPAs), and achieve a holistic approach to environmental protection.

The MPAs Challenge aims to:

  • Analyze the existing Mediterranean network of MPAs
  • Determine whether the network constitutes a representative and coherent network as described in article 13 of the Marine Strategy Framework Directive

This Challenge contributes in parallel to the data collection framework for checkpoint information and report assessment results in the literature survey and data adequacy reports.


The Mediterranean network of MPAs will be assessed through adequacy, representativity and coherence as MSFD states. The criteria adopted in 2009 by the Contracting Parties to the Barcelona Convention will be also taken into account. A GIS-based tool to visualize the main outcomes of the assessment is used.


The production of Targeted Products was accomplished applying the following methodology:

  • The necessary input characteristics and the available databases were identified
  • The accessibility/availability of the data sets was analyzed and the data policy of all the sources was strictly followed.
  • The data sets were downloaded and processed to be in the appropriate format for their conversion into GIS layers.
  • Each GIS layer corresponds to one data set and contains all the relative information. For instance, for the MPAs, an excel table is associated.
  • For each Targeted Product an individual workflow was created in a GIS (mxd) file. In this way, the Targeted Product layers can be optionally combined and visualized.

Data Sources

A wide range of data sources were assessed and reviewed for the challenge. Primary sources of the datasets for Marine Protected areas were: MedPAN, IUCN, EEA, CoCoNET, MEDISEH, IRIS-SES, EMODnet Seabed Habitats, EMODnet Bathymetry, Copernicus Marine Environment Monitoring Service (CMEMS). Scientific review articles on Mediterranean biodiversity.

Browse Data Source

Targeted Products

Name of Targeted product Short description Format
MEDSEA_CH2_Product_1 Med protection initiatives (management and conservation areas). Collated data set (excel file) containing information on MPA extension areas and different protection levels for each of them excel files
Full description and quality information: http://dx.doi.org/10.12770/1c130454-401d-423d-b2ee-e1fe3c0e5fcc
MEDSEA_CH2_Product_2 Med conservation areas, biological zones, fisheries restricted areas. Shape file with the layers containing the information as in MEDSEA_CH2_Product_1 and depth zones. shapefile
Full description and quality information: http://dx.doi.org/10.12770/f11a2f9c-e070-44ae-981f-fb5c70f6bda2
MEDSEA_CH2_Product_3 Proposed regional conservation areas in the Mediterranean.  etc. shapefile
Full description and quality information: http://dx.doi.org/10.12770/3af7637c-3187-431a-95a1-69378e07d156
MEDSEA_CH2_Product_4 Qualitative analysis of connectivity between MPAs. Combination of MPA, temperature, currents seasonal GIS layers shapefile
Full description and quality information: http://dx.doi.org/10.12770/f4d3dd30-633b-4a49-9c09-1e1243f36763
MEDSEA_CH2_Product_5 Representativity of habitats/species/other features. Combination of bathymetry, MPA, seagrass distributions, Cetaceans, light, habitats substrate, Natura sites shapefile
Full description and quality information: http://dx.doi.org/10.12770/df4d3c78-c10e-4149-bcb7-7c0185b2f506
MEDSEA_CH2_Product_6 The monitoring capacity of biodiversity in MPAs. Combination MPA and monitoring stations for biodiversity elements shapefile
Full description and quality information: http://dx.doi.org/10.12770/88118f24-3402-4935-843a-d4842d032483


Final Challenge ReportMedSea Checkpoint Challenge 2 (Marine Protected Areas): Description of Targeted Products, the methodology and the expert evaluation of fitness for purpose
How to Cite: “Reizopoulou, S., Kyriakidou, C., Katara, I., Katara, I., Giannoulaki, M., & Simoncelli, S. (2017). EMODnet MedSea CheckPoint Challenge 2 (Marine Protected Areas) Report. European Marine Observation and Data Network. https://doi.org/10.25423/cmcc/medsea_checkpoint_challenge2

Please contact back-end-medsea-ckpt@cls.fr for further information on products. 

Team Involved

Sofia Reizopoulou (HCMR), Chara Kyriakidou (HCMR), Simona Simoncelli (INGV), Nadia Pinardi (INGV), Isidora Katara (HCMR), Marianna Giannoulaki (HCMR),, Laura Bray (HCMR)