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The evolution of marine protected areas (MPAs): the North Adriatic case

Monica Camuffo (Ca' Foscari University, Venice, Italy)
Stefano Soriani (Ca' Foscari University, Venice, Italy)
Gabriele Zanetto (Ca' Foscari University, Venice, Italy)

Management of Environmental Quality

ISSN: 1477-7835

Article publication date: 4 January 2011




This study seeks to consider the recent evolution of the Italian policy in the field of marine protected areas (MPAs). In particular, it aims to point out the increasing role played by Italian regions in establishing and managing MPAs. This evolution is to be described by focusing attention on the North Adriatic case.


After a brief introduction on the legislative framework, points of weakness and strength of the Italian experience in the field of MPAs are discussed. Different initiatives for promoting and implementing an MPA strategy are analyzed through the North Adriatic case study, pointing out the increasing role played by the regions in the design and implementation of protection policies.


The analysis shows how regions direct greater attention to the involvement of the public and economic sector in the design and implementation of protection policies, and to the definition of more flexible management tools. This element clearly confirms the general and overall tendency towards more regional‐based forms of environmental policy, even in coastal and marine affairs. However, in order to improve the environmental gains and implement sustainable forms of economic development, these regional initiatives should be better linked to a more comprehensive coastal zone management framework, which is still lacking. From this perspective, a national strategy for the Italian coast system could strongly contribute to increasing the role and effectiveness of regional initiatives aimed at protecting coastal and marine ecosystems.


The North Adriatic case shows the growing need for integrated policies in different scale projects, enhancing the involvement of local communities toward their own territory.



Camuffo, M., Soriani, S. and Zanetto, G. (2011), "The evolution of marine protected areas (MPAs): the North Adriatic case", Management of Environmental Quality, Vol. 22 No. 1, pp. 59-71.



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2011, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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