Maritime transport is the backbone of the global economy. The sector is particularly important for the Mediterranean region – despite covering less than 1% of the world’s oceans, the Mediterranean carries about 15% of global shipping.
The maritime transport sector is expected to grow at a rate of 4% per annum for the next decade; shipping activity in the region is growing in terms of the number of routes, traffic intensity and size of ships.
And with this growth will come increasing environmental impacts, such as chemical pollution, noise pollution and collisions with marine mammals.
These environmental impacts are an issue for the whole of the Mediterranean, but it’s critical that they’re prevented – or at least minimized – in Marine Protected Areas (MPAs), which by definition are areas of great importance for marine biodiversity and ecosystems.
Considering the growth of the sector, it’s inevitable that major commercial traffic routes will increasingly interact with MPAs and other area-based conservation measures in some Mediterranean locations, especially where vessels are approaching ports or passing through straits.
Main ports and annual density of cargo vessels transiting in the Mediterranean Sea. Click on the map to show a dynamic map with extra layers of traffic density from different types of ships and their relationship with MPAs and other conservation areas