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Mediterranean: Overview

mediterranean seaThe Mediterranean Sea is one of the world’s most culturally important bodies of water and for centuries, it has been the home and primary source of food for millions of people.

As a result of its location and use as a primary trade route -- 23 nations border it -- the Mediterranean is at the center of world history.

Within the coastal region, the people inhabiting the area have had centuries of interactions with the marine environment. Persistent fisheries targeting bluefin tuna during their spawning migrations into the Mediterranean have been established since antiquity.

As a result of intense fishing and large coastal populations, pollution is of particular concern in the region. Recent fish kills have occurred in the Med’s northern Adriatic Sea as a result of noxious phytoplankton blooms. The blooms deplete oxygen levels, suffocating any fish unable to escape.

Areas of particular conservation interest in the Mediterranean include: the The Balearic Islands, Cabrera National Park, Menorca Canyon, Isla de Alborán, Seco de Palos Submarine Mountains and the Archipelago of Columbretes.

Many of these sites have recently been designated as marine protected areas. However, these sites represent a mere fraction of the biodiversity and illustrate only a few of the amazing places found in the Mediterranean Sea.