Blue Flag stakeholders, through the promotion of sustainable tourism and sustainable environmental activities, develop programmes for biodiversity conservation of the coastal marine area, especially endangered species.
Blue Flag emphasizes the importance of protecting species to maintain equilibrium conditions in the oceans, especially coral reefs and beaches. The programme encompasses also the sustainable use of the terrestrial ecosystem through nature and recreation, encouraging, for example, sustainable harvesting practices. It supports birdlife conservation providing minimalist facilities for bird watching.
In Iceland, the Blue Flag awarded sustainable boating tourism operators carry on whale watching, puffin watching and aurora borealis tours. These tours not only allow tourists to discover the Icelandic marine environment, but they also contribute to this goal as they provide people with information about the local natural environment and they educate them on species and ecosystem protection.
If a Municipality wants to run the Blue Flag Programme, it has to hand over documents concerning biodiversity conservation. In fact, the closer the attention for the environment, the higher will be the score of the municipality on this criterion. In Italy, conservation of endangered species, such as the ‘caretta caretta’ turtle and the ‘fratino’ bird, is part of the work of Blue Flag. This is performed through monitoring and environmental education activities. The protection of these species through the programme is undertaken not only during the bathing season but also during the rest of the year.