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Driven by Pas-de-Calais Département (France) and Kent County (U.K.), which are separated by the Strait of Dover, the European Straits Initiative brings together 15 local authorities whose shores are bathed by 8 European straits, from the Baltic to the Mediterranean, with the North Sea and the Channel along the way.
Straits deserve particular attention because they concentrate marine and coastal activities: shipping, fisheries, port operations, tourism, environmental conservation, and so on. They form an important link between the land and the sea. They provide a testing ground for integrated marine and coastal management.
These eight straits are special in the sense that they form marine and coastal territories straddling two countries, whose local authorities are engaged in intense cross-border cooperation. NOSTRA (Network of STRAits), an Interreg IV project, is the Initiative's first major venture and promotes the sustainable cross-border governance of straits.
Many MPAs have been created along these special territories, but few of them straddle political borders. The Strait of Bonifacio is the exception: it leads the way with its International Marine Park of the Strait of Bonifacio, created in 2012 and binding various players, among them the governments and relevant local authorities on both shores, in France and Italy.
Because they are associated with the notion of freedom of passage, and because some of them hold strategic value, these territories have up to now received little protection. We must now change the way we see them and recognize their potential.
More information on www.europeanstraits.eu
Come join us at the "Maritime Traffic and Conservation" workshop on Friday, Oct. 25, in Notre-Dame Room, at 10:00 AM.