Based on the definition of the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), a Marine Protected Area is a clearly defined geographical space, recognised, dedicated and managed, through legal or other effective means, to achieve the long-term conservation of nature and its associated ecosystem services and cultural values.
International experience and good examples of Marine Protected Areas in our country, such as the National Marine Park of Alonissos Ν. Sporades and the National Marine Park of Zakynthos, have a proven record of providing significant protection to endangered species (seals, sea turtles, etc.) and vulnerable habitats, while significantly contributing to the recovery of fish stocks, enhancing the interconnection of the local community with its natural capital and promoting sustainable development models in these areas. Their special protection frames make them an inseparable part of the international environmental agenda; hence leading the environmental community to commit itself to increasing the marine protected areas by the end of 2020.
Respectively, in Greece, through Ministerial Decision 50743-2017, both the Natura network was expanded, and the Marine Protected Areas were increased. However, the meaningful management of marine protected areas, as targeted to the achievement of their goal, remains a big challenge. It is important, along with the institutional recognition of more and more areas as protected, that this recognition does not remain a dead letter, but is complemented by ambitious policies. Policies that will widely highlight, through targeted actions and initiatives, both the environmental and socio-economic importance of marine protected areas and their combined contribution to the well-being of local communities and the sustainability of ecosystems.