Some Mediterranean plant and animal communities include species that are amongst the most threatened in the world. Some figure on IUCN's red list. Others, although not in immediate risk of extinction are becoming so rare that they are giving cause for concern.

It must also be pointed out that there are gaps in knowledge on the exact status of populations of many endangered taxa. Indeed, compared to other ecoregions, and on a different scale, the Mediterranean has been less well studied by ecologists. If more accurate data exists for the European part of the region, the same cannot be said for North Africa and the eastern side of the basin.

The Mediterranean countries have included the conservation of species, and particularly endangered and threatened species, in the Protocol concerning Specially Protected Areas and Biodiversity in the Mediterranean, adopted in Barcelona in 1995. In fact, they have committed themselves to ensuring maximum protection and to restoring the animal and plant species listed in Annex II relative to the List of Endangered or Threatened species.

With the exception of species moving over vast areas, marine protected areas are more efficient in protecting threatened species than any specific regulations. First because they protect the ecosystems and biotopes on which the threatened species depends as a whole. Secondly, because they allow for stepped-up and efficient surveillance, which would be impossible to implement on a larger scale.

Sources:
Ramade F., 1990. Conservation des Ecosystèmes méditerranéens - Enjeux et Perspectives. Les Fascicules du Plan Bleu, PNUE/PAM, 3 : 1-144.

 

Remarkable Mediterranean species

  • Fin whale : Balaenoptera physalus 
  • Loggerhead turtle : Caretta caretta 
  • Long-spined sea urchin : Centrostephanus longispinus 
  • Date shell : Lithophaga lithophaga 
  • Monk seal : Monachus monachus 
  • Giant limpet : Patella ferruginea 
  • Pen shell : Pinna nobilis 
  • Posidonia : Posidonia oceanica 
  • The slipper lobster  : Scyllarides latus 
  • Bottlenose dolphin : Tursiops truncatus