Adaptation is the key to seascape resilience in the face of booming populations of invasive species. Gökova Bay in Turkey sets an example.
The Gökova Bay marine habitat restoration pilot project has achieved significant and exciting results in just five years! In this region of south-west Turkey, the coastline from Gökova Bay to Cape Gelidonya is an important marine habitat, but it is under great pressure from increasing invasive species due to rising sea temperatures, illegal fishing, tourism.
The Mediterranean Conservation Society has developed a marine protection system (No Take Zone) that places the local coastal fisherman at the forefront of conservation. Artisanal coastal fishermen are positioned as key players in the conservation of marine biodiversity, no-take zones and sustainable fishing activities.
A significant impact
This program has been successfully carried out in Gökova Bay with significant recovery of habitat, fish stocks, increased income for fishermen, reduced abundance of invasive species and the return of predatory sandbar sharks and the Mediterranean monk seal. For local populations, the results are also tangible, with a 400% growth in fishing revenues between 2010 and 2017. This pilot project has received several awards including the UNDP Equator Prize in 2014, the Golden Whitley Award in 2017 and UN FAO “Best Practice of Co-Management on Small Scale Fisheries in the Mediterranean” in 2018. It has been replicated in several areas (Datca-Bozburun, Fethiye-Gocek, Kas-Kekova).
This project will upscale this successful model along more than 500km of vulnerable Turkish Mediterranean coast to support the restoration of ecosystem connectivity, provide space for habitat and species recovery, strengthening the first line of defence against Red Sea invasive species.
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