All those familiar with our work at Morigenos will know that by protecting dolphin populations we can indirectly protect the entire marine environment and its biodiversity. However, active protection, in the form of our scientific research and public awareness programs is only a part of the marine conservation story. European and international legislation include a range of laws, agreements and policies that are directly or indirectly targeting the conservation of the marine environment. But which of these legal mechanisms are carried out in Slovenia, and how successful they are in their implementation? The answers can be found in the 28th issue of the journal Varstvo narave (Nature Conservation), published by The Institute of the Republic of Slovenia for Nature Conservation.
In her article, Tina Centrih, Morigenos team member, discusses the implementation of international, European and national legal mechanisms guiding Slovenia at maintaining favourable conservation status of its marine biodiversity. A review of the available data shows that the implementation of provisions stipulated by various international conventions and European legal order is not always consistent. In summary, the conservation status of protected terrestrial coastal habitat types and species is satisfactory; however, the situation regarding marine species and habitat types is not the best. Marine protected areas in Slovenia (natural monuments Cape Madona and Debeli rtič, and two nature parks Strunjan and Sečovlje Salina) are too small to be able to provide a long-term favourable status for protected species. Alarming is the fact that certain rare and endangered species and characteristic habitat types that are present in Slovenian waters are still without designated protection areas. Slovenia has not yet designated special protection areas (Natura 2000 sites) for the only marine mammal species, the bottlenose dolphin (Tursiops truncatus), and the only marine reptile species, the loggerhead sea turtle (Caretta caretta), which are present in Slovenian marine waters and the northern Adriatic Sea. The situation regarding management of the existing marine protected areas is unsatisfactory as well, since only two of the four are effectively managed. The aim of the article is to emphasise the problems and obstacles related to marine conservation in Slovenia, as well as illuminate the shortcomings regarding the fulfilment of the legal mechanisms driving marine conservation in Slovenia.