The central activity of Mediterranean Conservation Society is to promote community‐centered conservation of marine and coastal ecosystems in Gökova Bay.
Developed in response to marine ecosystem degradation, declining fish diversity and abundance, and associated losses to fishermen’s and fisherwomen’s incomes, Akdeniz Koruma Dernegi, or Mediterranean Conservation Society in English, has created a network of ‘no-take zones’ that put local fishing communities at the lead of marine biodiversity conservation. Focusing on the southern Mediterranean coast of Turkey, the organization is effectively communicating the value of sustainable fishing techniques to ensure the long-term viability of the local fishing industry. Community-based enforcement strategies are complemented by cooperation with regional and national authorities and scientific studies to monitor ecosystem health. Fish stocks have grown dramatically, as have the average incomes of cooperative members. Monitoring activities confirm rejuvenated marine species diversity and abundance in the bay, which is an important nursing ground for diverse endangered marine species, including Mediterranean monk seals and sandbar sharks.