Pelagos Sanctuary is a Specially Protected Area of Mediterranean Importance (SPAMI).

The list of Specially Protected Areas of Mediterranean Importance (SPAMI) is drawn up by the Mediterranean Action Plan as part of the Barcelona Convention’s Biodiversity Protocol, under the authority of the United Nations Environment Program (UNEP).

SPAMIs are the central features of a network that aims to ensure the effective conservation of the Mediterranean heritage. In order to meet this goal, the parties involved work together as a plurilateral team to preserve and manage natural sites, with a special focus on creating cross-border SPAMIs.

The list of SPAMIs is managed by the Regional Activity Centre for Specially Protected Areas (RAC/SPA), based in Tunis. Sites eligible to appear on the list of SPAMIs should:

  • be of importance for conserving the components of biological diversity in the Mediterranean;
  • contain ecosystems specific to the Mediterranean area or the habitats of threatened species;
  • or be of special interest at the scientific, aesthetic, cultural or educational levels.

Appendix I of the Protocol establishes the guidelines and common criteria for inclusion on the list of SPAMIs. The inclusion process involves specifying the conservation and management measures for the sites. The 21 countries of the Mediterranean Basin, signatories of the Barcelona Convention, are thus committed to respecting the conservation and management measures put in place by the SPAMIs.

It is for this reason that the development of an action plan is also a requirement of the parties proposing that a particular area be included on the list of SPAMIs. Pelagos Sanctuary now possesses such a document, which represents an important step towards integrated management.

With the Pelagos Sanctuary having been included on the list of SPAMIs since November 2002 within the framework of the Barcelona Convention, it is thereby granted official recognition from the Mediterranean countries. SPAMIs are the central features of a network that aims to ensure the conservation of the Mediterranean heritage.