Recent explorations of deep-water resources in the Mediterranean Sea provide some of the largest, most financially lucrative offshore global discoveries of natural gas. Yet, along with such discoveries are the risks and challenges of protecting the Mediterranean Sea and its unique marine species and ecosystems. The Mediterranean Sea offers a timely case study to examine the complex interactions and potential conflicts related to newly discovered marine energy resources. The region includes over 20 countries across three continents with multiple geopolitical conflicts, large and increasing populations sizes, high coastal development and over-exploitation of biological resources, all of which pose threats to its biodiversity conservation. The scarcity of data on the ecology and oceanography of the deep waters of the Mediterranean and the unknown impacts of oil and natural gas operations are great challenges for conservation and policymakers. Only few of the current conservation initiatives in the Mediterranean have explicitly considered how negative impacts of oil and gas exploration and production might threaten conservation priorities and objectives. Many approaches for explicitly incorporating hydrocarbon features into marine spatial plans already exist. Such tools can help balance economic goals and biodiversity considerations, and should be incorporated into marine spatial planning initiatives in the Mediterranean Sea and around the globe.
Bibliographical notePublisher Copyright:
© 2018 selection and editorial matter, Katherine L. Yates and Corey J. A. Bradshaw; individual chapters, the contributors.