Natura 2000 in the marine environment

The objectives and priority areas for intervention on the theme “Nature and biodiversity” established by the European Parliament and the Council in the Sixth Community Action Programme include the further promotion and protection of marine areas, in particular with the Natura 2000 network, and with other feasible Community means.

The implementation of Natura 2000 at sea is slightly later than the terrestrial counterpart: it is only at the end of 2012 that member states must submit to the European Commission the final list of sites to be designed. Meanwhile, the latest available data (January 2011) show that in Europe 566 SPAs were designated, 45 of which in Italy, and 1.247 marine SCIs have been proposed, of which 165 in Italy.

Also by 2012, member states should identify appropriate management measures for the marine Natura 2000 sites identified.

The European Commission has produced in recent years a number of guidance documents to assist member States in these activities. The documents are available at

Over the past two years the Comunità Ambiente has developed on behalf of the European Commission a methodology for assessing the impacts of fishing on marine Natura 2000 sites. The publication will be available in the coming months.