The National Marine Park of Alonissos Northern Sporades was the first marine park established in Greece and currently the largest protected marine area in Europe. The efforts to protect this area began in the early 1970s. In 1986, the Prefecture of Magnisia signed the first resolution aiming to the protection of the Mediterranean monk seal (Monachus monachus) and its natural habitat.
These efforts were followed by a series of ministerial decisions on the protection of the local nature reserve. In May 1992, the area was finally declared as “National Marine Park” by presidential Decree. Finally, in June 2003, a Joint Ministerial Decision introduced the management framework for the region and created the Management Body, which becomes responsible for the preparation and implementation of the Management Plan of N.M.P.A.N.S.
The Governing Council of the Management Body of N.M.P.A.N.S. is composed of ten (10) members, who represent national, regional and local authorities, local professional associations and non -governmental environmental organizations. In 2010, Professor Stefanos Paraskevopoulos, University of Thessaly, Department of Special Education, was appointed Chairman of the Council.
Funding for the Management Body has been secured by the Operational Program “Environment” (EPPER). In May 2007, for the first time, 11 properly trained scientists and technical staff were hired, registered in Alonissos, for the implementation of protection and research programs, as well as public awareness and sensitization campaigns. A five-year management plan was also in course of preparation.
The National Marine Park of Alonissos Northern Sporades is member of the MedPAN (Network of Marine Protected Areas in the Mediterranean).