Bulgarian Marine Protected Areas
Strandzha Marine protected area
Strandzha mountain coast is distinguished by conditions nearly undisturbed by human activities and highly varied underwater habitats, the most representative among them encompassing clean sands inhabited by psamophilic clams (Donax trunculus, Chamelea gallina) and rocky seabed covered by extensive meadows of the brown algae Cystoseira barbata and Cystoseira crinita and blue mussels (Mytilus galloprovincialis, Mytilaster lineatus). Strandzha coast might be still visited occasionally by the monk-seal (Monachus monachus), a world threatened species included in Annex II of the Bern Convention. This is probably the last secure and tranquil area of the Bulgarian coast where theoretic possibility exists for restoration of the monk seal population.
The Natura 2000 protected area “Ropotamo”
The Ropotamo protected area is distinguished by high diversity of different habitats with marvellous views and natural forms, Thracian sacred places, mosaic of varied coastal and marine habitats: fjords, coves and bays, inlets, islands, mussel reefs, beaches with beautiful dunes, lagoons and marshes, and the estuary of the Ropotamo River. A remarkable unknown habitat - huge biogenic reefs built by the native flat oyster Ostrea edulis was found during the MATRA project diving expedition in 2007. Other habitats of high conservation interest include rocky reefs overgrown by diversity of seaweeds (large Cystoseira meadows and fields with sea grasses, included in red data book - Zostera marina, Zostera nolltii and Pothamogeton pectinatus which surve as sanctuarty and protection of many invertebrate species and fishes, and fine sands inhabited by Thalassinid crustaceans.
Marine protected area “Islands Saint Ivan and Saint Petar”
In the vicinity of the Sozopol town. It is designated to protect coastal and marine habitats - 1170 and 1240 ha, respectively. From flora and fauna for protection under the Habitats Directive is defined fish Alosa immaculata. On hard substrate grow Cystoseira species as dominant and other algae (red, green and brown), which shelter fish and invertebrate species.
Marine protected area “Chengene skele””
In the standard data reporting form the enlisted marine habitat is: 1160 - large shallow inlets and bays. Important for protection in this habitat are sand banks (1110) with Zostera noltii and Potamogeton pectinatus meadows, which invertebrate species and fishes inhabit. Important marine fish species for protection are: Hippocampus guttulatus, Pegusa lascaris, Coriphoblennius galerita, Mesogobius batrachocephalus, Pungitus platigaster, Salaria pavo, gobby, Symphodus ocellatus, Syphonostoma typhle, Atherina boyeri, Gasterosteus aculeatus, reptiles Natrix tesselata. In this area, pollution, associated with the development of industry, tourism and port activities/shipping around the city of Bourgas is the main human pressure and a challenge for management to ensure protection in practice.
Protected area “Mandra –Poda”
Marine area is 3% from the whole size of the protected area. In this area habitat type 1150 - coastal lagoons is under protection. Meadows of seagrasses Potamogethon pectinatus are spread in this habitat type which overlaps with 1110 habitat type - sand banks.
Protected area “Pomorie”
The marine territory in this area is 54%. Habitat types present in this site are: 1110 - sand banks; 1150 – coastal lagoons; 1160 - large shallow inlets and bays; 1170-reefs. Important species of fishes present (listed in Annex II of the Habitats Directive) are Alosa pontica, Alosa fallax, Alosa maeotica, and Alosa caspia nordmani. Reefs are covered with Cystoseira meadows and other algae (green, red and brown). In sand banks sea grasses such as Zostera marina, Zostera noltii and Potamogeton pectinatus grow.
Protected area “Ravda- Aheloy-Nesebar”
Marine area is 81%. Habitat types present and listed in the standard reporting data form: 1160- large shallow inlets and bays; 1110-sand banks; 1170- reefs; 1140-mudflats. In this protected area meadows of the brown algae Cystoseira sp. and sea grasses Zostera marina, Potamogeton pectinatus are characteristic and well developed. Ecosystems are in good condition.
Protected area Cape Emine – Irakli beach
Its territory is 11282.80 ha, from which 19% is marine. The rocky coast is structured by sandstone and marl layers. Hard substrate is covered by algae Cystoseira, Ulva, Ceramium, Cladophora. The highest conservation importance in the area is given to soft marl rocks in the upper infralittoral punctured by the boreholes of the common piddock Pholas dactylus. A further characteristic habitat is sandy/silty bottom inhabited by the crustacean Upogebia pusilla, polychatete Arenicola marina. Fishes present are: Alosa agone, Alosa immaculata. Alosa maeotica, Alosa tanaica. From mammals, Phocoena phocoena is very important species for protection.
Protected area “Kamchia”
The territory is 12919.94 ha. Marine area occupied is 6%. Marine habitat types spread in this site are: 1110-sand banks; 1130-estuaries; 1160-large shallow inlets and bays. Important species listed in international conventions are: Atherina boyeri, Belone belone, Liza ramado, Neogobius bathrachocepha lus, Natrix natrix and others.
Protected area “Shkorpilovtsi”
Occupied area – 51256.53 ha. Marine area is 22%. Mammals listed in Habitats directive: Phocoena phocoena; Tursiops truncates; and Lutra lutra. The clean sands present in this area are suitable habitat for the bivalves Donacilla cornea, Donax trunculus and Chamelea gallina. Here could be seen the rare stargazer Uranoscopus scaber. Reefs are overgrown by the algae Ulva, Cladophora, Ceramium and blue mussels, actinias, sponges and harbour a range of rare species: the endemic misids Hemmiyisis sp., the decapod crustacean Polybius navigator, the damsel fish Chromis chromis and pipe fish Nerophis ophidian. (Todorova et al., 2008).
Protected area Galata
Occupied area - 16237.19 ha. Marine area is 76%. Habitat types: 1140-mudflats; 1160- large shallow inlets and bays; 1170-reefs. Many species of fishes and birds are listed for the area. Reefs are covered by green and red algae. Ecosystems are under strong pressure from tourism, industry and port activities/shipping.
Protected area “complex Kaliakra”
Occupied area – 44128.26 ha. Marine area is 90%. Many birds are listed as important species for this area (included in Annex I of the Council Directive 79/409/EEC). Reefs are covered with Cystoseira meadows and other algae (red, brown and green). Infralittorall and pseudolittoral associations of the coralline red algae Corallina officinallis are spread. Mytillus galloprovinciallis reefs are also present. On muddy substrates sea grasses grow: Zostera noltii and Zostera marina. Ecosystems are in good condition.
Protected area “Ezero Shabla-Ezeretz”
Occupied area – 26235.30 ha. Marine territory - 65%. Sandy bottoms are inhabited by the snail Cyclope neritea and Nassarius nitidus and various bivalves – Lucinella divaricata, Lentidium mediterraneum, Chamelea gallina, Telina tenuis, Mya arenaria and Anadara inaequivalvis (Todorova et al., 2008). Many species of birds and fishes are present in the area. Species listed in Annex I of the Council Directive 92/43.EEC – the mammals Phocoena pocoena and Tursiops truncatus are registered as well.
Protected area “Ezero Durankulak”
Occupied area – 5050.79 ha. Marine territory is 75%. In this area marl sandy plate’s reefs are present. They are covered with algae. Sandy bottoms are characterized with the same populations as mentioned above for the “ezero Shabla – Ezeretz protected area”. Many fishes are present in the area. The mammals Phocoena pocoena and Tursiops truncatus are occasionally registered.
BG0001500 Aladja banka
BG0001500 Aladja banka – 669.64 ha (100% marine area). Date site proposed as SCI: 2012-07 Marine habitat types for protection are 1110-sand banks; 1170-reefs. Marine area is 100% and constitutes 669.84 ha. Invertebrate species under protection are Xanto poressa, Plummus hirtellus, shell Mytilus galloprovincialis, crabs Pachygrapsus marmoratus and Eriphia verrucosa. “Аladja bank has exelent representativity with relation to the biotope „Infra- and circalittoral rocks with fouling of Mytilus galloprovincialis and Mytilaster lineatus”, which is subtype of 1170 - reefs habitat type. In the bank area multitude methane seeps are present (http://www3.moew.government.bg/?show=top&cid=530)
Marine area is 100% and constitutes 55345.28 ha. Marine habitat type for protection is 1170. The area has exelent representativity with relation to the biotope „Infra- and circalittoral rocks with fouling of Mytilus gallarovincialis and Mytilaster lineatus”, which is subtype of 1170 - reefs habitat type. The aquatory is habitat of fishes Alosa immaculata. The area is permanent habitat for two species of cetaceans, Tursiops truncatus and Phocoena phocoena.
BG0001502 Otmanli - Area [ha]: 2.3 Marine area 100 % and constitutes 8.83 ha. Marine habitat type for protection is 1110. The habitat is characterized by mixed communities of sea grasses from Zostera genus and Zannichellia over sandy-shell substrate. Zostera marina communities of sea grasses are spread to depth of 1-5.5 (6) m, as in some places they are patchy distributed. In summer season, the water clarity is 2-3 m depth, salinity - 15‰. The region is eutrophic due to the proximity of the city of Bourgas, in other words it is a strongly anthropogenically influenced area.
Proposal area for extension:
1. BG0000103 Galata - 1842.97 (marine area 79%)
2. BG0000146 Plaj Gradina – Zlatna ribka – 1245.85 (marine area 82.95%)
3. BG0000573 Komplex Kaliakra – 48291.61 (marine area 90.5%)
4. BG0001001 Ropotamo – 98099.76 ha (marine area 89.9%)
5. BG0001004 Emine-Irakly – 16794.59 ha (marine area 45.7%)
6. BG0001007 Strandzha. – 153541.2 (marine area 25.5%)