The Posidonia Seagrass is protected at different levels: international, European, national and local.
The species and the habitat are protected (ecosystem approach Rio, 1992).
The RAMSAR convention (1975) aims to conserve “areas of mars, fen, peatland or water ,whether natural or artificial, permanent or temporary, with water that is static or flowing, fresh, brackish or salt, including areas of marine water the depth of which at low tide does not exceed six meters”. Upper parts of P. Oceanica can be concerned.
The Bern convention (convention on the conservation of European wildlife and natural habitats) has been signed in 1979 and updated in 1996 to add marine species such as Posidonia oceanica , Zostera marina and Cymodocea nodosa. These species are mentioned as requiring protection.
According to the article 4, contracting parties shall take appropriate and necessary legislative and administrative measures to ensure the conservation of the habitats, they avoid or minimize as far as possible the deterioration of such areas, and undertake to coordinate their efforts when these are situated in frontier areas.
The Barcelona convention, signed in 1976 and updated in 1995 is the convention for the protection of the Marine Environment and the Coastal Region of the Mediterranean. The legal tool is the Mediterranean Action Plan (MAP), accompanied by the protocol of Specially Protected Areas and Biological Diversity in the Med sea. The protocol is composed of 3 annexes. The annex 2 concerns a list of endangered or threatened species, which includes Posidonia oceanica.
In 1999, the first action plan for the protection of the Marine Environment and the sustainable development of the coastal areas has been adopted.
The Habitats Directive of 21 May 1992 is the legal basis of conserving the natural habitats of wild fauna and flora and maintaining biodiversity throughout the EU. The directive has 6 annexes: annex 1 identifies types of natural habitat whose conservation requires the designation of Special Conservation Zones (SCZs). In this annex appears the Posidonia oceanica habitat, which is, moreover, classified as a priority habitat (1120).
The Water Framework Directive (WFD, 2000) and the Marine Strategy Framework Directive (MSFD, 2008) support the conservation of Posidonia through the objective to achieve or maintain Good Environmental Status (GES) of all EU marine waters. Posidonia is generally used as an indicator for environmental status.
The Common Fisheries Policy (CFP) also protects Posidonia meadows. Is prohibited the use of towed gears above 50 meters depth (entailing an indirect protection of Posidonia which grows up to 45m deep) and more specially is prohibited “fishing with trawl nets, dredges, purse seines, boat seines, shore seines or similar nets above seagrass beds of, in particular, Posidonia oceanica” (Council of the European Union, 2006).
Summary of international and European legislations
|LEVEL OF PROTETION||LEGISLATION|
Berne convention (annex 1)
Barcelona convention (annex 2)
Habitats Directive of 21 May 1992 (annex 1)
Marine Strategy Framework Directive (MSFD, 2008)
Common Fisheries Policy (CFP) - Council of the EU, 2006
Council Directive 92/43/EEC of 21 May 1992 on the conservation of natural habitats and of wild fauna and flora
Article 13 states: 1. Member States shall take the requisite measures to establish a system of strict protection for the plant species listed in Annex IV (b), prohibiting: states:
(a) the deliberate picking, collecting, cutting, uprooting or destruction of such plants in their natural range in the wild.
- Boudouresque C. F., Bernard G., Bonhomme P., Charbonnel E., Diviacco G., Meinesz A., Pergent G., Pergent-Martini C., Ruitton S., Tunesi L., 2012. Protection and conservation of Posidonia oceanica meadows. RAMOGE and RAC/SPA publisher, Tunis: 1-202. https://www.rac-spa.org/sites/default/files/doc_vegetation/ramoge_en.pdf
- Díaz-Almela E. & Duarte C.M. 2008. Management of Natura 2000 habitats. 1120 *Posidonia beds (Posidonion oceanicae). European Commission. https://uicnmed.org/bibliotecavirtualposidonia/wp-content/uploads/2014/04/MANAGEMENT-of-Natura-2000-habitats-Posidonia-beds.pdf
- Telesca, L. et al. Seagrass meadows (Posidonia oceanica) distribution and trajectories of change. Sci. Rep. 5, 12505; doi: 10.1038/srep12505 (2015).