SPNI Forms a Marine Conservation Dream Team

Israel's coastline and marine environment. Photo Dov Greenblat

Israel is blessed with a beautiful Mediterranean shoreline and significant marine territory.  If fact, Israel’s waters are so extensive that they equal the country’s land area.  Beyond the territorial waters and safety zone strip, Israel also enjoys “economic waters” that play host to an entire marine world that requires protection, including sea creatures, vegetation, underwater landscapes and numerous wonderful natural assets.

Over the last decade, the discovery of economic resources at sea has transformed Israel’s marine environment into an arena of development, with the constant construction of desalination plants and natural gas extraction facilities.  While these ongoing developments have made the protection of the marine environment a national priority, the planning and legislation that regulates the use of water is sorely lacking and, as a result, these highly valuable resources are not properly managed by the state and the marine ecosystem is threatened with destruction.  

Marine environment, Israel. Photo Sarah Ohayon

For many years, SPNI has worked to protect Israel’s marine territory through various methods, including the promotion of a comprehensive fishing reform and the declaration of marine nature reserves, advocating for responsible oil and gas production policies, and several other campaigns.  Recently, SPNI spearheaded an effort to create a coalition of Israeli environmental organizations to enhance Israel’s marine protection.

The coalition, which includes SPNI, Greenpeace, Adam Teva V'Din, EcoOcean, Green Course and Zalul, drafted a professional plan defining the main goals and essential activities required to safeguard the marine environment and is committed to working together to achieve these goals. 

The key objectives include:

  • Enacting economic water legislation as an amendment to the Marine Areas Law
  • Establishing a planning policy for the maritime zones
  • Declaring marine nature reserves
  • Completing and executing the fishing reform
  • Developing a national preparedness plan in the case of a marine pollution event
  • Addressing the expansion of natural gas production
  • Reducing plastic pollution at sea

 

SPNI and the other coalition members are hopeful that the Israeli government will soon come to understand the urgency of this matter and become a full partner in protecting and preserving our marine environments.