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The GEF-funded project (Global Environmental Facility) on the “Determination of priority actions for further elaborations and implementation of the Strategic Action Programme for the Mediterranean Sea”, an initiative under the framework of the Barcelona Convention, includes the “Preparation of a Strategic Action Plan for the Conservation of Biological Diversity (SAP BIO) in the Mediterranean Region”. This last project is led by the Regional Activity Centre for Specially Protected Areas (RAC/SPA) and is aimed at providing a logical basis for the implementation of the 1995 SPA Protocol.

The document presented here is one of the five outputs produced as a result of the Memorandum of Understanding concluded between RAC/SPA and the Fisheries Department of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), with the general objective to produce technical documents and guidelines aimed at facilitating the national process for the elaboration of strategic action plans to face the impact of fishing activities on biological diversity.

This document was originally delivered by the author to FAO in November 2000. Though many new studies have been published since then that would certainly deserve discussion here, only a very limited updating - affecting the section on driftnets - could be done. Indeed, new relevant studies and key legislative moves have recently arisen on this particular issue that have made the original discussion somewhat outdated. As for the rest of topics, this study should be regarded as a document produced in 2000, based on the scientific knowledge then available.

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