The National Marine Park of Alonissos and Northern Sporades was the first marine park established in Greece and is currently the largest marine protected area in Europe. The National Marine Park of Alonissos and Northern Sporades is member of the MedPAN (Network of Marine Protected Areas in the Mediterranean). Founded in 2003 and funded within the framework of the "Environment and Sustainable Development" operational program, its management body is responsible for the preparation and implementation of the management plan relative to the Marine Park.
The Board of Directors of this management body consists of 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 Board.
The efforts to protect this area began in the early 1970s. In 1986, the Prefecture of Magnesia 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 1992, the area was finally declared a "National Marine Park". In 2007, properly trained scientific and technical staff was hired by the management body of the National Marine Park, registered in Alonissos, for the implementation of protection and research programs, as well as public awareness and sensitization campaigns. A five-year management plan is also in course of preparation.