The Aqaba Marine Protected Area -- Integration of Marine Science and Resource Management in the Gulf of Aqaba-Red Sea  

Mohammad Khaleel Al-Zibdah
Department of Marine Biology, Marine Science Faculty, University of Jordan, 77110 Aqaba, Jordan
Author    Correspondence author
International Journal of Marine Science, 2013, Vol. 3, No. 44   doi: 10.5376/ijms.2013.03.0044
Received: 09 Aug., 2013    Accepted: 16 Sep., 2013    Published: 18 Oct., 2013
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This is an open access article published under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.
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Al-Zibdah, 2013, The Aqaba Marine Protected Area----Integration of Marine Science and Resource Management in the Gulf of Aqaba-Red Sea, International Journal of Marine Science, Vol.3, No.44 361-367 (doi: 10.5376/ijms.2013.03.0044)

Aqaba has great strategic importance being Jordan’s only maritime access point. Within this geographically restricted area there is a need to accommodate industry, trade, and tourism with concurrent environmental conservation practices. Jordan has recognized the need to follow a plan that deals with the entire coastal zone and its full range of resources in a comprehensive manner to avoid severe conflicts over coastal space and resource utilization. The plan presented here describes the best possible compromise between the different interests through harmonizing coastal activities to support a broader set of overarching national goals for the Jordanian coast.

The Aqaba Special Economic Zone Authority (ASEZA) established a national Marine Protected Area (MPA) as part of the master plan of the coastal resources embodying the coral reserve along the coast. The MPA was established to conserve and manage the natural near-shore marine environment of the south coast with its rich biodiversity while allowing certain tourist uses. At the same time, the MPA supports efforts to conduct research and monitoring programs on the physical, chemical, and biological properties of the northern Gulf of Aqaba and the near shore coral reefs. Currently, the MPA in Aqaba plays a significant role in strengthening the regional capability for information exchange and resource management for the entire Red Sea. In order to lay the groundwork for integrated coastal zone management in Jordan’s Gulf of Aqaba and for a long-standing working relationship between the regional countries, issues of environmental management and conservation are discussed.
Marine protected area; Gulf of Aqaba; Red Sea; Integrated coastal zone management; Near shore reef protection
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