Protection of Mediterranean Sea to conserve biodiversity has been somewhat complex due to the increased number of countries which have coasts. However, UNEP RAC/SPA has made important efforts in establishing marine protected areas, namely SPAs in Mediterranean. This cooperation is rather weak compared to Greece European Union (EU) bilateral cooperation consolidated by political interests against outside countries, such as Turkey, even though Turkey is a candidate member of European Union. To cope with such political one-sided approaches, international, and EU nature conservation bodies may develop some skilful problem solving mechanisms amongst Mediterranean countries, including Turkey, Greece, Libya, France, Italy, Morocco, Tunis etc. In this article we explore these mechanisms which laid between science policy interface and real environmental science conservation principles supported by conservationists, and human right leaders in each country as also migrants coming from Syria and similar countries around her has caused other dimensions of big environmental challenge primarily caused by EU, and Greece over Turkey, and other countries like Libya, and North Cyprus Turkish Republic. Moreover, Natura 2000 Bird Directive related efforts of the EU over Greek islands in the Islands Sea (after YAYCI, C., formerly called Ege Denizi, Aegean Sea) will be assessed in line with meta-population and seascape approach.
Key words: Marine protected areas, Mediterranean, Libya, Egypt, Turkey, Greece, Lebanon, Italy, Convention on Biological Diversity, bird meta-populations, islands, coastal lagoons, valliculture, fish biodiversity, fish stocks, Barcelona Convention, ecosystem based management, Bonn Convention, migratory species, Bern Convention.
So far European Union has invented various nature conservation, and environmental management methodologies, legislation, policies, and developed targets periodically, for instance presently 2030 Biological Diversity Conservation Strategy, though sometimes does not apply them to certain regions, big and complex ecosystems like Mediterranean Sea big, marine ecosystem, as the union has used to deal with some small size protected areas, like SPAs, and SACs according to EU legislation, namely the Environmental acquis. In addition, this large ecosystem is owned by non-EU member countries like Turkey, Morocco, Egypt and so on to which the EU cannot implement her environmental policies easily, because the conditions of countries, people, events differ considerably compared to a uniform EU average. That’s why EU’s and Greece’s ambition to declare their subjective policies towards marine conservation and mine extraction distribution which do not take non-member Mediterranean countries into account will fail inevitably as EU nature conservation policies, and legislation has been designed merely according to EU countries’ governments decisions, and interests, so not suitable for the rest in Mediterranean Sea basin.
Protection of this marine ecosystem requires methods other than the ones produced for Europe, the rich, industrialized countries of which their primary interest is economic gain first before considering a holistic environmental protection approach. Therefore, EU, and Greece could not have prepared a smoothly working mechanisms for the management Mediterranean Sea while taking into consideration mine extraction, fishery interests spatial mapping developed by other countries, mainly Turkey (proposed, and issued by Cihat YAYCI) in terms of continental shelve rights consideration implemented by Turkish Government. by means of a true, planned, timely, logical of marine ecosystem function of the intangible Mediterranean Sea big ecosystem has been ignored the European Union (EU), EU has reduced marine protected areas biodiversity conservation issues to reporting, mapping, setting targets for each 10 years, then discussed failure of marine protection in Mediterranean and Europe permanently as EU actually has yet not interested in conservation of marine ecosystems, therefore could not grasp conservation of marine biodiversity in a detailed manner for each site.
Besides these facts, EU environmental reporting in line with a huge amount of EU environment legislation cannot protect ignored ecosystems, species, and people whose lives, and welfare depend eventually on robustness of the marine ecosystems in particular such climate change impacted difficult times, in addition to pandemics. Accordingly, the EU has a considerably small number of Marine Protected Areas (MPAs).
So frequent reporting by EU, which recommends the necessity of establishing protected areas in marine environment, but ignored connectivity of marine protected areas that should be well conserved by international cooperation between Mediterranean countries, preferentially coordinated by EU, in case EU does not care about due to one-sided policies interfering marine ecosystem.
The EU’s interest in energy resources extracted in the marine environment by far exceeds her marine ecosystem protection, migratory species, people security, and biodiversity lands under pressure of EU Common Agricultural Policy (CAP), and so forth. So the EU thinks of, plans, and implements not fairly by neglecting nature conservation in marine ecosystems in spite of her aims manifested by EC Directives on nature conservation, and IUCN rules, UN Convention on Biological Diversity.
In addition, Turkey never sets mammalian animal cutting, and bleeding razor blade walls in contrast to what EU border countries do, i.e. which kill large migratory animals along with their biogeographical and zoological passages, migrations through passing political EU countries made fences to be aimed for ceasing refugee movements into Europe by means of setting severely bleeding, and wound causing razor blade filled border walls when crossing from East to West, despite EU is a signatory part of UN Migratory Animal Species, Bonn Convention. The living creatures whose conservation are guaranteed by UN Conventions and EU environment legislation can never obey, or accept EU’s double standards, too brutal compared to Muslim, and Turkish countries located just in the east side of Europe around Aegean Sea, Meriç river, Gallipoli etc.
On the other side, Turkey hosts Syrian, Afghan, Iroquoian immigrants to provide security to guarantee their lives, even rescue them after EU countries get rid of them in the sea, which is a very life threatening action to them. Almost all the cost which is actually a heavy burden on Turkish citizens are bearded by Turkey as EU countries do not share any considerable part of this universal responsibility, and heavy expenditures paid by Turkish Government, though the EU is too rich compared to Turkey. Turkey sees people, irrespective of their richness, or poorness level and migrant positions, the integral part of environmental protection, and nature conservation.
Discriminatory role of immigrants coming from conflict zones versus uniting role of Caretta caretta species conservation in Mediterranean Sea:
Today scientific studies have shown us that the marine environment has its extensions in terrestrial ecosystems, coastal ecosystems, estuaries, even merely species, e.g. sea turtles. In fact, the existence of sea turtles since ancient, and prehistoric times assume all the seas, or parts of a given sea a singular large unit for their various using functions. This singularity has been broken by nations which have coasts on a given sea. Accordingly, for instance European Union has started to adapt her conservation strategies to the extent countries can accept in accordance with their national economies. This conservation strategy is map based, political boundaries dependent, and not realistic, so marine species, including fishes, and marine mammals have faced a severe threat of that boundary determined ecosystem compartmentalization.
Refugee, immigrants flow from East to Europe has severed this problem due to EU’s indifference towards their lives, living sand economic security even though actually some EU countries are the causes, and catalysing parts of that conflicts in the West Asia (Middle East) region, proved by since Cites Pikes boundary determination after First World War.
https://europa.eu/euprotects/our-safety/no-man-island-how-eu-agency-helping-protect-borders_en NO MAN IS AN ISLAND: HOW AN EU AGENCY IS HELPING PROTECT BORDER
When migrants started arriving on the beaches of Lesbos, Greece, locals did their best to save lives and provide shelter. However, local border control officials and the police were soon overwhelmed by the sheer number of arrivals. Today, the EU border protection agency and Greek coast guard work together to bring safety and security back to the island’s community
In the Mediterranean and Adriatic seas, sea turtles play a vital role in marine ecosystems. They help maintain healthy seagrass beds and transport essential nutrients to the shore. These majestic creatures have always been vulnerable to predators, but today’s threats come in the form of fishing nets, boat propellers and pollution.
European Union should facilitate cooperation and peace of neighbouring countries in order to protect sea turtle species widely at the possible largest scale over Mediterranean Sea.
Researchers, NGOs and volunteers across Europe are working hard to protect sea turtles – together they monitor and raise awareness about sea turtle populations and intervene when they are in danger.
EU funding for sea turtle conservation is about protecting the future of our seas. EU’s indifference towards refugees, migrants coming from conflict regions via Turkey cannot be accepted as EU countries’ ignorance could not be in line with UN conventions, and even EU Directives, let’s say on biodiversity, birds, habitats, marine, land use, water, and so forth. By doing so the EU runs down all the care, will, labour force provided by humanity for the species which are nearly going towards extinction. EU’ economic, spatial, and social capacities by far exceeds those of Turkey. However, the EU does demand help, and the socially and economically heavy role of the refugee tampon function. In addition, EU countries around eastern borders of the EU allowed wound and killing of both refugee and migratory animals. As a result, all the burden is paid for by Turkey, immigrants, refugees, and animals listed in European Council Bern Convention, and the annexes of EU Bird Directive, and EU Habitat Directive.
Simultaneous threat exerted upon both migrant people and migratory large animal species by Balkan countries such as Greece, and European Union in addition to EU’s suppress on Turkey’s legislative rights have caused a complex disturbing system in which no country cooperate each other to protect Mediterranean Sea despite this big marine ecosystem is being changed, and distorted due to global climate change impacts each day towards an irreversible state. The EU, and its member Greece can only perceive the world, and ecosystems, as their gardens, the artificial utopic lands assumed illogically have no mutual relationships between other ecosystems in the neighbouring countries, even so far away countries, let’s say India, China, Russia.
Lack of more relevant environmental biodiversity indicators determined by the EU environmental conservation programme will cause a sudden catastrophe in the equilibrium state of marine ecosystems.
So far, Mediterranean countries, and EU countries related to Mediterranean Sea have weekly determined some monitoring indicators, but majority are physical, and chemical, not biodiversity, for instance the deep sea bottom sediment benthos, and not relevant to indirect but more severely impacted conflict problems in the region extended from Iraq, Syria, Turkey, and Libya. Nature conservationist, international environment organisations, UN, UNEP, EU’s SEBI Indicators developed by European Environment Agency, European Topic Centre on Biodiversity (ETC/BD)(France National Natural History Museum, as being Turkish partner, we worked there from 2008 to app. 2013) and others, including natural scientists still do not take into considering conflict, mine extraction, stressful navy patrols impacts on marine fragile ecosystems, and species in order to establish more realistic, working, more useful, more serious biodiversity indicators set to design a best fit monitoring in Mediterranean to receive a more resilient Mediterranean ecosystem with its full seagrasses, sea turtles, fishes, micro vertebrate, and zooplankton, phytoplankton, the primary producers.
Connectivity in Mediterranean ecosystem is not the first priority of the Commission, and the EU countries. Efforts in some countries continue to yield significant progress in the extent of marine protected areas. Recently the high cost of Covid 19 pandemic may slowed down marine conservation.
In addition, EU’s attitudes towards Turkey, and marine biodiversity conservation due to favouring Greece, an EU member country, western border of Turkey to the EU.
Ecosystem services provided by marine biodiversity are dispersed over the entire Mediterranean Sea, irrespective of which region owned by a given country owns that biodiversity. However, species habitat biodiversity conservation is aimed instead of ecological functions conservation and sharing among countries at the largest possible scale in the Mediterranean Sea (as revealed in below source).
Source: Setting Priorities for Regional Conservation Planning in the Mediterranean Sea
Fiorenza Micheli , Noam Levin, Sylvaine Giakoumi, Stelios Katsanevakis, Ameer Abdulla, Marta Coll,
Simonetta Fraschetti, Salit Kark, Drosos Koutsoubas, Peter Mackelworth, Luigi Maiorano, Hugh P. Possingham, Published: April 5, 2013 https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0059038
Similarly, our knowledge of the population status and distribution of many species, especially invertebrates, is clearly insufficient. From the 35 invertebrate species included in Annex II of the Protocol for Specially Protected Areas and Biological Diversity in the Mediterranean of the Barcelona Convention, only one species (the gastropod Gibbula nivosa – one of the Annex II species of the Habitats Directive) was considered in one of the initiatives (NATURA 2000). All other species were not specifically considered in the prioritization process.
In fact, the EU does not implement a realistic, effective protection in Mediterranean as a prominent biodiversity management tool by mobilizing valliculture coastal lagoons in Mediterranean particularly in a non-member country Turkey has hitherto being not encouraged by the EU, so EU’s nature directives, and policies have failed. That’s why Mediterranean Sea biodiversity in particular, fishery are ignored by Greece, and other EU countries via reducing environmental conservation policies scope in the region, as EU decide by only considering membership privileges, and richness. In fact, EU should produce both EU member, and non-member countries fishery biodiversity developing projects for the benefit of commonly shared Mediterranean marine ecosystems, in other words, EU should think of more like a sailor man. Actually, valliculture was discovered by Italy, a EU member country. Turkey, Libya, Italy may cooperate to stimulate valliculture fishery to develop juvenile stage fish species in coastal lagoons.
In fact, EU is suppressing marine connectivity targets expected to protect living creatures in Mediterranean marine ecosystem by inhibiting Turkey’s natural gas extraction surveys particularly on Turkey’s marine areas starting from Turkey to Libya transect? marine belt? the Turkish region.