- The Mediterranean Sea is connected to the Atlantic Ocean, encircled by the Mediterranean region and almost completely enclosed by land. Since the Mediterranean is landlocked tides are reduced.
- Evaporation surpasses precipitation leading to a reduction in water level and an increase in salinity level, most commonly on the eastern coast of the Mediterranean sea.
- The name Mediterranean is derived from the Latin “mediterraneus” meaning “inland” or in the middle of the land (from medius, “middle” and terra, “land”).
- It covers an approximate area of 2.5 million km2 whereby the strait of Gibraltar (a narrow channel that connects the Atlantic ocean to the Mediterranean sea) is only 14km wide.
- The Mediterranean Sea has an average depth of 1500 meters and the deepest verified point is 5,267 meters located in the Calypso Deep. The Calypso deep is situated in the Ionian Sea, South West of Pylos, Greece. Moreover, it has a water surface of 2,2 million km2 and a coastline of 46,000 km.
- Countries surrounding the Mediterranean Sea are Spain, France, Italy, Monaco, Portugal, Malta Slovenia, Croatia, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Montenegro, Albania, Greece, Turkey, Cyprus, Syria, Lebanon, Israel, Palestine, Egypt, Libya, Tunisia, Algeria and Morocco
- The five largest islands in the Mediterranean Sea are Cyprus, Crete, Corsica, Sardinia and Sicily with only Cyprus and Malta having the island nations.
- The Mediterranean experiences high rates of pollution mostly from chemical tank washing and accidental oil spillages. These damages are caused from the 222,000 vessels that crosswise the body of water every year.
- The Mediterranean Sea provides the main breeding grounds for Loggerhead turtles (Caretta Caretta) and Bottlenose Dolphins. It also provides the world with 30% of its fish protein for consumption.
- There are thousands of rivers that support the Mediterranean Sea with nutrients and the three largest ones are Ebro, the Rhone and the river Nile.
- The Mediterranean Sea is one of the 25 global biodiversity recognized centers known as “biodiversity hot spot” due to its high biodiversity meaning that it has high numbers of flora and fauna in contrast to other European seas such as the Atlantic ocean, the Arctic ocean and the Black sea.
- The Mediterranean Sea formation occurred from the Tectonic breakup and the collision of the African and European plates and numerous smaller micro plates around 5.5 million years ago.
PRIORITY AREAS FOR CONSERVATION REGARDING FISHING IMPACTS IN THE MEDITERRANEAN
The Thracian Sea is a disconnected area, which encompasses two shelves known as the Strymonikos Gulf and the Samotraki Plateau. It is considered as one of the most important breeding zones for hake fish (family Merlucciidae) in Greece.
Strymonikos Gulf covers an area of 63km² and Samotraki Plateau covers an area of 150km²; they are situated in the north of the Aegean Sea and have an approximate depth of 1600 meters.
Marine species that are endangered in this area are hake fish due to overfishing, mostly from bottom trawling.
Coordinates for Strymonikos Gulf: 40.676355, 23.788875
Coordinates for Samotraki Plateau: 40.750003, 25.250001
The Eratosthenes Seamount is located in the Eastern Mediterranean, specifically south of Cyprus and north of the Nile Delta and covers an area of 10,295km² and has a depth of up to 2,700 meters.
In this area, infrequent coral species have been identified, such as Caryophyllia calveri and Desmophyllum cristagalli. Fishing activity has not been reported in the area, whilst trawling activity is permanently prohibited.
Coordinates for the Eratosthenes Seamount: 33.894037, 32.670791
North of the Levantine Sea (Eastern Mediterranean):
The North of the Levantine Sea encompasses an area of 29,992 km².
At this area tuna spawning occurs and this has been assured since Thunnus thynnus larvae (Bluefin tuna), Thunnus alalunga (Albacore) and Euthynnus alletteratus (little tunny) have been officially located in the south of the Anatolian peninsula.
Coordinates for the Levantine Sea: 34.067416, 33.987625
The Strait of Gibraltar and Alboran Sea:
The Western Mediterranean covers an area of around 29,000km². Many marine species such as whales, dolphins, tuna, and turtles, including Caretta carretta (loggerhead sea turtle), follow a migratory path in the Alboran Sea, from the Atlantic to the western Mediterranean, through the Strait of Gibraltar. Amongst these species, the population of Delphinus delphis (short-beaked common dolphin) is the healthiest in the Mediterranean after a significant decline of the species in most of its range and due to this fact it needs special attention.
This zone is to be considered as a migratory route for large pelagic fishes and also great quantity of cetaceans and turtles has been reported in the area.
Coordinates for the Strait of Gibraltar: 36.009415, -5.687973
Coordinates for the Alboran Sea: 36.265719, -3.417046