With a view to attaining the aims of the project and ensuring that the achievements it generated would be sustainable, it was important to envisage implementation methods that suited the local and national context in which each activity had to be carried out. Moreover, for the project, the RAC/SPA chose approaches that it had already used jointly with its partners over the last three years in some countries of the region.

National co-ordination
In each country involved in the project, a national liaison co-ordinator was designated to be the liaison officer with the Applicant and to ensure co-ordination between the various national actors in the Project. A meeting of national co-ordinators will be organised by RAC/SPA when the Project starts up.
Methodology for the elaboration of management plans: (Activities MP1 to MP6)
Elaboration of management plans will go through the following main stages: (i) biological and ecological study, (ii) study of the relevant socio-economic aspects, (iii) drafting of a provisional version of the management plan jointly with the authorities that are responsible for the protected area and (iv) consultation with other socio-professional and economic actors concerned by the protected area.
The final version of the management plan will be produced, taking into account both conservation objectives and the requirement that the protected area be integrated within its economic and social environment.
In each of the protected areas concerned by the Project, the management plan and the manner in which the process is conducted, will play a pilot part at national level in promoting the management of marine protected areas and the use of a consultative and participatory approach when planning such management.
(i) Field surveys at sea:
The suitability of the management measures advocated for a protected area greatly depend on the quality of data available on the biotopes of the area under consideration. This is why, for the requirements of drafting each management plan, a field survey will be carried out to inventory the biotopes and the main species therein and to map their distribution. This cartography will be necessary for zoning the marine protected area. Data on species and assemblages will be used to identify protection and management measures, to assess the carrying capacity of zones which will be open to the public, etc. The main output of each field survey will be a report on species biology and ecology and assemblages in the zone being studied.
To make this study, two field missions will be carried out: a preliminary mission (lasting a few days) at local and national level, and the field survey itself (lasting about two weeks). The exact duration of each mission varies from one protected area to the next according to their specific features (area to be covered, ease of access, heterogeneity of assemblages, etc.).
The preliminary mission aims at bringing the main actors for elaborating the management plan into direct contact with each other, gathering the available information, identifying possible problems, finalising the planning of the field survey itself and sorting out a detailed programme for it. The RAC/SPA’s recent experience in this kind of study shows how important such preliminary missions are.

The field survey itself should take place some 2 to 4 months after the preliminary mission. When the team members are identified, the tasks to be carried out and the study techniques to be used are borne in mind. The following main techniques will be used:
underwater visual inventory of the benthic species and assemblages by transect or quadrant sampling;
mapping of main assemblages
inventory of sources of disturbance and threats for the main biotopes
updating of bathymetric data in the available maps
surveying the shoreline to make a detailed morphological description of it.
Particular attention would be paid to the main following elements:
species of Mediterranean importance, particularly those appearing in Appendix 1 to the SPA Protocol
marine phanerogam meadows
Posidonia barrier reefs and other surface organogenic formations.
The Standard Data-entry Form for national inventories of natural sites of conservation interest (SDF), prepared by RAC/SPA and adopted by the Contracting Parties in June 2000, will be used systematically for data recording, using the reference list of marine habitats, also prepared by RAC/SPA.
For each of the marine areas studied, a geo-referenced database will be compiled based on digitised maps.
Although the various field surveys will be carried out by different teams, there will be standardisation of study methods and presentation of results. To this end, a meeting of the partners’ representatives will be organised by RAC/SPA during the first months after the Project starts.
(ii) study of relevant socio-economic aspects
This study will be entrusted to a national consultant with in-depth knowledge of the socio-economic environment related to the protected area. For the purposes of this study, the consultant will have to collect data on the local and national economic activities which interact with the protected area from the concerned administrations. Particular attention will be paid to the sector-based development plans for fishing and tourism and for basic infrastructure (projects for roads/motorways, ports, marinas, etc). When necessary, the consultant will supplement the available data by surveys of the local population, fishermen, and tourist operators.
It is important that the consultant responsible for this study participate in the above-mentioned preliminary mission to get a precise idea of the management plan’s overall objectives and thus identify both issues and stakeholders.
(iii) drafting a provisional version of the management plan
On the basis of results from the preliminary mission and the survey itself and the socio-economic study, a team of experts will draft a preliminary version of the management plan. This must in particular touch on the following elements:
zoning plan, and definition of activity for each zone, including the buffer zone
staff requirements
necessary facilities
management board
bringing local people into management
detailed programme of scientific monitoring
organising monitoring and patrolling
equipment requirements
promoting, managing and controlling public access
rules for the evaluation and revision of the various sections of the management plan
Where necessary, the preliminary version of the management plan will offer options; the choice of option will be decided during the consultation process.
(iv) consultation with stakeholders
For all the stakeholders to back the management plan, it is important that this be submitted for consultation. The Project provides for two stages of consultation. In the first stage, the preliminary document, which has been drafted jointly with the authority responsible for the protected area, will be sent to the authorities and organisations concerned, in particular the local authorities, the fishing and tourism departments, associations, fishermen’s groups, etc. In the second stage, there will be a meeting, to which all the stakeholders will be invited, where the management plan will be presented and discussed.
(v) Initiating implementation of the Management plans.
Some of the management plan measures will be implemented for pilot and demonstrative purposes. The first of these measures is that which concerns the marking out of the marine protected area borders, as defined by the zoning plan. The other measures vary from one protected area to the next, as set out in the “activities description” section below.
Methodology for site inventorying and the elaboration of national plans
For the development of marine protected areas (for Syria and Cyprus)
Sites of interest for conservation will be inventoried using the the Standard Data-entry Form for national inventories of natural sites of conservation interest (SDF) adopted within the MAP framework. The sites to be studied are identified on the basis of the available data, in particular as regards habitats which appear on the Reference List of marine habitats adopted within the framework of the Mediterranean Action Plan. In the case of Syria, areas where marine turtle nesting is suspected will be particularly considered for surveys. The same holds good for habitats suitable for the Monk Seal in Cyprus.
Teams responsible for implementation:
The Project activities will be carried out by mixed teams of national experts and experts and consultants designated by the RAC/ASP and/or its partners, as may be appropriate. For the purposes of data analysis and processing, the national experts will have to spend short periods in the laboratories of their team colleagues.
This approach is one of the basic principles of the Project. In particular, it will permit (i) the promoting of North-South and South-South exchange of experience, (ii) the strengthening of contact between Mediterranean specialists, thus helping to forge links of sustainable cooperation and (iii) the training of national experts in new techniques of inventorying and mapping marine habitats, to make use of this skill for similar work in other sites.