The Mediterranean coast is arguably the country's greatest recreation and tourist asset. However, the unfettered building of marinas, coustal housing, and private beaches greatly limit accessibility to the public. Additionally, development of the gas and oil industries coupled with decades of over-fishing has dramatically harmed the marine habitat. SPNI is working at ever level to keep Israel's beaches clean, ecologically healthy, and accessible to all.
Israel has a huge economic bounty within its economic and territorial waters including: large oil and gas deposits, water for desalination, fish, space for artificial islands, access to major international shipping routes and recreational value. Thus far Israel has gone about utilizing these resources without a comprehensive strategy, long term plan or environmental monitoring. This approach has caused the deterioration of the Mediterranean’s biodiversity and is a contributing factor to other societal problems.
- To advance a comprehensive, long term, strategic management plan for the Mediterranean Sea aimed at creating a balance between development and conservation.
- To advance a law to expand the powers and environmental responsibilities of the state into its economic waters in order to give maximum protection to the marine environment.
- To promote a plan to create protected marine reserves in 20% of Israel’s territorial waters.
- To start dialogue with all stakeholders to bring about fundamental changes to Israel’s fishing industry.
- To create a fully funded emergency infrastructure able to immediately respond to oil spills or other environmental catastrophes.
Protecting the Mediterranean Coastline
Israel’s Mediterranean Coast is a very important natural resource but faces increasing threats. Although legislation to protect the coastline from development does exist (the Coastal Environmental Protection Law), there remains a constant pressure to build new high-rises, holiday villages and large infrastructure facilities along the coastal strip with potential developers constantly trying to find and exploit loopholes to carry out their plans.
- To promote an amendment to the Coastal Environmental Protection Law to allow the examination of old development plans along the coast.
- To examine and promote the feasibility of placing new infrastructure facilities inland.