Stretching along the Mediterranean Sea from north to south, Lebanon’s marine resources and seashore are of high environmental, economic, political and social value. Lebanon’s shore extends about 230 km along the Mediterranean Sea and is globally acknowledged for its rich biodiversity. The coast includes Lebanon’s largest cities, where around three-quarters of the population live. Lebanon is party to the 1976 Barcelona Convention for the Protection of the Mediterranean Sea Against Pollution and its amendment (Convention for the Protection of the Marine Environment and the Coastal Region in the Mediterranean, Barcelona 1995); the London Convention for the Prevention of Pollution from Ships (1973) and from Oil (1954 and 1994); the Jamaica Convention of the Sea (1982); the Law of the Sea (Montego Bay, 1982); the 2008 Protocol on Integrated Coastal Zone Management in the Mediterranean, which draws on the Barcelona Convention; and the 2002 Prevention and Emergency Protocol (pollution from ships and emergency situations). A draft national integrated coastal zone management law has been prepared, which could, along with the environment protection law, determine new principles for the protection of the coast and marine environment.
In 2018 the Cabinet endorsed the National Biodiversity Action Plan (prepared in 2016) that includes the protection of coastal and marine biodiversity. Lebanon has two coastal protected areas: The Palm Islands Nature Reserve and the Tyr Coast Nature Reserve.
The Ministry of Environment’s Marine Protected Areas Strategy (prepared in 2012 in collaboration with other stakeholders) aims to create a network of protected areas consisting of nine marine or coastal sites, five estuary sites, and between one and four deep sea sites.