This document describes the results of the testing and proposing the operational measures for SSF governance and management in any MPAs located in the northern shore of the Mediterranean region. The development of the toolkit relied on the anaysis of the FishMPABlue1 project results and practical application of proposed measures in 11 case study MPAs. This toolkit can be a useful instrument for any MPA manager that wants to improve MPA effectiveness through a better cooperation with local small-scale professional fishers. 

Sea Basin(s): 
Application in MSP: 
Unknown effect
Nature protection
Type of Issue: 
Coexistence of uses
Ecosystem-based approach
Environment aspects
Social aspects
Type of practice: 
Stage of MSP cycle: 
Vision and aims
Develop and implement plan
Cross-border / trans-national aspect: 
Coherence with other processes: 
Common Fisheries Policy


Questions this practice may help answer:

  • How can a MPA co-management system be organised ?
  • Which measures can be proposed as part of the MPAs co-management system?
  • What are some practical solutions that can be applied for better co-management and collaboration with fishing community ?

Implementation Context:

This Toolkit can be a useful instrument for any MPA manager that wants to improve MPA effectiveness through a better cooperation with local small-scale professional fishers (SSF). The tested tools and results, illustrated in the document, can cope with at least some of the recurring problems any MPA manager encounters when dealing with SSF within or around the MPA surface. 

An added value of the toolkit is that the eleven tools have been tested in more than one FishMPABlue2 pilot MPA, assuring their replicability and showing particular responses in relation to specific features of one MPA. The project has directly contributed to improved management practices and collaboration with fisherman in multiple MPAs, including the Telascica MPA (Croatia), Torre Guaceto MPA (Italy) and Es Freus MPA (Spain). 

Aspects / Objectives:

The aim of this Toolkit was to review and propose a practical and scalable measures/tools for improved MPA effectiveness through a better cooperation with local small-scale professional fishers. Apart from proposing practical tools that can be used in future initiatives, the development of the toolkit had an aim to produce concrete benefits in the 11 pilot MPAs which were considered in this project.


The Toolkit is the new and upgraded version of the one issued in the FishMPABlue1 project. It started from an analysis of SSF management in 31 MPAs from 5 Mediterranean countries which, identified 5 enabling conditions for a successful SSF management. The attributes were revised in the framework of FishMPABlue2 project to encompass the following: 

  • Enforcement - i.e. fostering MPA capacities in surveillance and patrolling,
  • Fishers involvement,
  • Knowledge and ownership, 
  • Environmental sustainability, 
  • Economic sustainability. 


Following this initial analysis, a list of measures potentially (and positively) contributing to establishment of these enabling conditions was drafted. For the specific 11 pilot MPAs a list of measures was produced, from which some were to be tested in the framework of the FishMPABlue2 Pilot Action. 


Looking at the experiences developed by the 11 pilot MPAs in the framework of the FishMPABlue2 project, the involvement of local artisanal fishers – focusing their economic activity (fishing) within and/or around the MPA surface – in relation with SSF management 3 main situations can be summarized as follows: 

1. Exchange of information & reactions about MPA’s decisions: MPA managing body carries out a “communication strategy” (formal/informal, having direct contact with each fisher or through his association/cooperative/etc., on a regular/event-related basis, etc.) through which local fishers are informed about the decisions (already taken) affecting them and collects fishers’ reactions on this, to be taken into account for an eventual future modification of the decision; 
2. Involvement of the fishers in the MPA decision making process on a consultative basis: MPA managing body starts a decision making process and invites local fishers to be a part – i.e. providing their needs and position – but MPA takes final decision on its own, without negotiating with fishers 
3. Involvement of the fishers in the decision making process with some power on final decisions taken: MPA managing body recognizes local artisanal fishers as one of the legitimate actors to be involved in a shared decision making process concerning SSF, together with others affected by this sector (local authorities, other economic sectors like diving, NGOs, etc.); in this situation fishers are empowered to influence final decisions (because this is recognized since the beginning) although shared with other actors and finally inferior to the MPA managing body one. 

This toolkit also contains a chapter proposing a basic feasibility assessment (in terms of money, time and stakeholders engagement) of each tested measure. Final conclusions focus on the added value of such a process (i.e. testing any theoretical solution in the field) and of the achieved results, taking into account the high “representativeness” of the sample (the 11 pilot MPAs) in the Mediterranean region (northern shore). 


Proposed operational measures for SSF governance and management are applicable for any MPA located in the northern shore of the Mediterranean region.

Responsible Entity: 

Federparchi – Europarc Italy

Costs / Funding Source:

Interreg Mediterranean

Contact person:

Luca Santarossa 

Federparchi – Europarc Italy