When & where

Five AMAre Marine Protected Areas..

The Freus d’Eivissa i Formentera Marine Reserve

The Freus d’Eivissa i Formentera Marine Reserve is located between Ibiza and Formentera (Balearic Islands; NW Mediterranean). Covering ca. 14000 ha, it is managed by the Balearic Islands Government aiming both at conservation of the habitats and communities, and at enhancement of small-scale fisheries.

Posidonia oceanica meadows are the most representative communities, occurring down to 35 m depth, although the marine reserve extends down to 60 m and hosts 35 different communities. The no-take area has been reported to increase the species richness, density and biomass (6 fold in the 2000-2016 period) of the fish community.

The North-East Maltase Marine Protected Area

The "Żona fil-Baħar bejn Il-Ponta ta' San Dimitri (Għawdex) u Il-Qaliet" was designated as a Special Area of Conservation of International Importance by the Environment and Resources Authority (ERA) and as a Natura 2000 site through the EU Habitats Directive by virtue of the habitats and species it hosts. The MPA includes the north-eastern coast of Malta, from St. George’s Bay to Ċirkewwa, the coast of Comino and the eastern coast of Gozofrom Ħondoq Ir-Rummien to Xwejni Bay.

It hosts more than 80 per cent of Posidonia oceanica seagrass meadows found in the Maltese Islands. In the Mediterranean, this habitat is considered as a conservation priority, since seagrasses play several key ecological roles. The MPA is also home to other protected marine habitats, including reefs and caves, as well as to a number of iconic marine species endemic to the Mediterranean, such as the Noble Pen Shell (Pinna nobilis), thelong-spined sea urchin (Centrostephanus longispinus), the star coral (Astroides calycularis) and the vulnerable Mediterranean coral(Cladocora caespitosa). The largest maerl bed within Maltese coastal waters is also partly located within this MPA.

Among various activities taking place on the site – such as those related to commercial shipping (e.g. the MPA hosts a major shipbunkering zone) and recreational navigation – the most popular is diving (the MPA hosts a large number of wrecks) and tourism (e.g. the MPA hosts some of the most popular beaches on the islands, including Mellieħa Bay and the Blue Lagoon, for a total of 7out of the 12 Blue Flag beaches identified to date within the Maltese Islands). Additional activities ongoing within the MPA’s precincts include artisanal fishing and aquaculture, with the MPA hosting the large agglomeration of tuna pens in Maltese coastal waters.

Contact person: Prof. Aldo Drago; Head, Physical Oceanography Research Group; Coordinator, M.Sc. in Applied Oceanography; Dept. of Geosciences, Faculty of Science University of Malta; Secretary: 00356 21440972; Mobile: 00356 99832830.


Porto Cesareo Marine Protected Area

Established by decree of the Italian Ministry of the Environment on 12 December 1997, the Porto Cesareo MPA with its 16,654 ha and a coastal length of 32 km is the third largest marine protected area in Italy. Its located east of the Gulf of Taranto, in the northern Ionian Sea. The Porto Cesareo MPA is mostly characterized by sandy beaches alternate with shallow rocky coastlines, and many small islands and rocks. There are at least 15 different habitats mapped highly representative of Mediterranean submarine populations, including a high coverage of Posidonia meadows (with three SCI sites within the MPA), coralligenous habitats and underwater caves, all three habitats are of high environmental value, and are included in the Annexes of the EC Directive, and in the SPAMI protocol. 

The MPA has two Zones A (no take zone), two Zones B (highly protected zone) and a Zone C (partially protected zone). In the Porto Cesareo MPA there are three marine SCI sites; "Porto Cesareo" (Cod: IT9150028), in Zone C, with a total of 21.8 ha, "Palude del Capitano" (Cod: IT9150013), in Zone C and B, with a total of 1,667 ha, " Palude del Conte e Dune di Punta Prosciutto "(Cod: IT9150027), in Zone C, with a total of 3,660 ha and in Zone A with 1,048 ha. Moreover, along the coast of the MPA, there are two regional protected areas, the Regional Reserve "Palude del Conte e Dune Costiere - Porto Cesareo", and the Regional Natural Park "Porto Selvaggio - Palude del Capitano", where there are 5 SCI land sites.

Recently the CIESM (Commission Internationale pour l'Exploration Scientifique de la Méditerranée) proposed the hypothesis of 8 cross-border Mediterranean areas to be subjected to joint environmental protection and coordinated between neighboring countries, called Peace Parks, with the clear objective of conserving biodiversity, and at the same time promoting international cooperation. One of the 8 proposed areas, called "North Ionian", includes entirely the Porto Cesareo MPA, along with the Reserve of Torre Guaceto and the Albanian and Greek coastline.

The institutional objectives of the Porto Cesareo MPA are the protection of the marine environment, the socio-eco-friendly promotion, the realization of research projects, and the environmental education focused on the broadest categories of stakeholders, for the continuous improvement of environmental and social quality of the region.

Contact person: Dott. D'Ambrosio Paolo, Director, Consorzio di Gestione Area Marina Protetta Porto Cesareo; e-mail: paolodambrosio@hotmail.com 

Web page: www.ampportocesareo.it


Pictures by Gianluca Romano and Sergio Fai (Porto Cesareo MPA staff)



Torre Guaceto Marine Protected Area

Torre Guaceto Marine Protected Area (MPA) is located in south-eastern Italy (southern Adriatic Sea),  it covers about 2220 ha and it was established by the Minister of Environment  with a Decree on December 4, 1991.

The Torre Guaceto Protected Marine Area has been established with the aim of providing a model for sustainable development of the coastal and marine area through conservation of the biodiversity, involving the socio-economic actors of the area, with the attention towards a continuous improvement of its environmental governance.

Contact person: Francesco de Franco; Environment Unit, Marine Protected Area of Torre Guaceto; E-mail: segreteria@riservaditorreguaceto.it.

The National Marine Park of Alonissos Northern Sporades

The National Marine Park of Alonissos Northern Sporades (N.M.P.A.N.S.) was the first Marine Protected Area established in Greece, in 1992, and the largest protected marine area in Europe. It ranges over a wide area covering approximately 2.3150 km , located in the northwest of the Aegean Sea. Besides the sea area, the Park includes the island of Alonissos - where the Park’s Management head office is placed (in Patitiri)- six smaller islands and 22 rocky outcrops.

The Park is a rare sanctuary for the Mediterranean monk seal, Monachus monachus, considered as one of the most important in the whole Mediterranean Basin. The island of Piperi, on the northeast of the surrounded area, is a keybreeding site for the animal and is protected by the Barcelona Convention. At the National Marine Park of Alonissos Northern Sporades there is a unique combination of terrestrial and marine Mediterranean habitats with hundreds of plant and animal species, as well as important archaeological and historical monuments. The region is of particular scientific, educational and cultural interest, as in the wider area of ​​the Park there are archaeological finds from the Prehistoric, Classical and Byzantine periods (wrecks, old monasteries and churches).

Contact person: Theodoros Mouratidis; Management Body of National Marine Park of Alonnissos Northern Sporades, Patitiri, Alonnissos island, Greece; E-mail: tmourati@alonissos-park.gr; Phone: +30 2424066419.

Nine AMAre PLUS Marine Protected Areas..

Brijuni National Park

Brijuni National Park was established in 1990. It is now a Natura 2000 site and, since 2019, a SPAMI area (Specially Protected Areas of Mediterranean Importance).

The park is situated nearby to Luka Madona, and northwest of Veliki Brijun. It encompasses 14 small islands off the Istrian coast of Croatia.

This area represents a well know biodiversity hotspot, thanks to its high seagrass species diversity and the nursery and foraging area provided by these species. Being seagrass species so important to contrast climate change impacts (due to the abilities of the seagrass meadows in sequestrating carbon and the) and serving as ecological refugia for many organisms, one of the main goals of Brijuni National Park is to protects large, long-living meadows of endemic seagrass that provide feeding, refuge, and nursery habitat for many species.

Many other important species (IUCN Red List species as the Bottlenose dolphins, loggerhead sea turtles and many birds) frequently migrate through and nest in Brijuni National Park.

Cantonnement de pêche du Cap Roux

The Cantonnement de pêche du Cap Roux was created in 2003 by the Fishing Prud'homie of Saint-Raphaël, supported by the ministerial decree of July 3, 2003. This is the first protected area to be created on the initiative of a fishing Prud'homie without a management agreement with a manager in the French Mediterranean coast. The Saint-Raphaël Fishing Prud'homie is made up of more than 15 artisanal covering 3 municipalities costalines: Roquebrune-sur-Argens, Fréjus and Saint-Raphaël.

The main objective is to preserve both ecological and halieutic richness of the area and its biological resources, contributing to sustain the professional fishing activity on this territory. Only nautical activities, such as: yachting, scuba diving and swimming are authorized. Any form of taking is prohibited there (professional fishing, recreational fishing, angling, shore fishing, underwater fishing).

This marine reserve is extended on 450 hectares of the sea area located at the foot of the Massif de l’Esterel, in the Estérel Natura 2000 area, nearby Saint-Raphaël. The area is characterized by the presence of Posidonia meadows (Posidonia oceanica), a keystone species that constitutes the main spawning and nursery area, but also rocky outcrops and coralligenous bronde.  

Pelagos Sanctuary for Marine Mammals

The Sanctuary is a marine area of 87,500 km² with 2,022 km of coastline, born from an agreement between Italy, the Principality of Monaco and France for the protection of marine mammals.

The Pelagos Agreement for the Sanctuary of Marine Mammals in the Mediterranean was signed in Rome by France, Italy and the Principality of Monaco (depositary) on 25 November 1999. Entered into force on 21 February 2002 The Agreement aims to promote concerted and harmonized actions between the three signatory countries for the protection of cetaceans and their habitats against all possible sources of nuisance: pollution, noise, capture and accidental injury, disturbance, etc.

Established with the aim of protecting marine mammals from all causes of disturbance caused by human activities, the Sanctuary must therefore reconcile the harmonious development of socio-social activities with the necessary protection of the habitats and species living in them. It is a "large ecosystem" that has a considerable scientific, socio-economic, cultural and educational interest. A rough estimate lists more than 8,500 species of microscopic animals representing between 4% and 18% of the world’s marine species. This biodiversity is remarkable, in particular as regards the number of predators at the top of the trophic chain, such as marine mammals. However, biodiversity within this sub-unit of the Great Dimension Marine Ecosystem of the Mediterranean is under the combined pressure of the natural fluctuations of the environment and the impacts of human activities. This area is also subject to a high pressure caused by the many human activities, thus creating serious problems for the populations of marine mammals. These impacts are due, inter alia, to certain fishing techniques, pollution, urbanisation, collisions with vessels and cetacean observation activities. To these anthropic disturbances are added natural disturbances (climatic fluctuations, epidemics, etc.).

Portofino Marine Protected Area

The MPA of Portofino was established with the law of the Environment Department the 26th of April 1999, to safeguard its extraordinary marine biodiversity and to promote a sustainable use of its natural resources at the local scale. The MPA has always supported scientific and socio-economic research relevant to its institutional aims, and fostered environmental education and awareness to a large audience. The management in charge is composed of a Consortium which includes the municipalities of Camogli, Portofino, S. Margherita Ligure, the Province of Genova and the University of Genoa.

The Portofino MPA extends for 346 ha, around the promontory of the same name among the municipalities of Camogli, Portofino and S. Margherita Ligure along 15km of coastline. It is divided into three zones: A (no take-no entry zone, 19 ha), B (generally protected zone, 167 ha and C (partially protected zone, 188 ha).

The geomorphological features of the promontory have determined an underwater environment very rich in crevices, roofs, and small caves favoring the development of a rich and highly diversified benthic fauna and flora. Portofino MPA represents one of the most important marine site in the whole of the Mediterranean for its abundance of the red coral population (the most important shallow-water coral population of the Ligurian Sea) and, in general, the coralligenous community. Few other sites in Italy are as rich in species and in gorgonian populations as Portofino. Further, the MPA ensure the proper execution of its institutional activities. These include: monitoring of the water column parameters, biodiversity, structure and dynamics of the benthic communities, control of commercial and leisure activities.

Punta Campanella Marine Protected Area

The Punta Campanella MPA was established by Ministerial Decree of 12 December 1997. The territory of the Marine Protected Area extends for 1549 ha with different degrees of protection: ZONE A, ZONE B and ZONE C. The aim is to ensure both the integral protection of nature both the correct management of the territory for the use of environmentally friendly tourism and for the maintenance and development of local economic realities, combining the preservation of environmental values with the sustainable use of the marine environment.

Regno di Nettuno Marine Protected Area

The Regno di Nettuno MPA is a marine protected area established by decree of the Ministry of the Environment on 27 December 2007 and is located in the metropolitan city of Naples, around the islands of the gulf, Ischia, Procida and Vivara.

The MPA extends for 11256 ha and includes two protection zones in addition to the canonic zones: A (of integral protection), B (of general reserve) and C (of partial reserve); such as B n.t. “no take” zone (of special general reserve) and  D zone (protection of marine mammals).

The MPA realizes programs of monitoring and research in the areas of ecology of the marine biology and the underwater archeology, in partnership with scientific institutes, Universities, associations and operators of the area, aiming at fostering knowledge on the marine-coastal territory. Carries out various activities in collaboration and in favor of the local community, often in synergy with other authorities such as the Zoological Station Anthon Dorhn, University and the Coast Guard involving schools, local associations and citizens.The MPA manages a portal of Citizen Science (www.citizensciencerdn.org) through which, thanks to citizens' reports, it improves the management of the Area.

Contact person: dott. Antonino Miccio, Director, Management Consortium Regno di Nettuno MPA; email: info@regnonettunoamp.it; mobile phone: +393384077563;

Web page: www.nettunoamp.it     

Pictures by Pasquale Vassallo Underwater Photographer

Samariá National Park

Samaria National Park is located on the southern side of Crete along the central part of the island, covering an area of approximately 7500 ha. Declared as a National Park via a Royal Decree in 1962, it is a muli-designated area (specifically a National Park, Landscape of Outstanding Beauty, Natura 2000 site coded GR 4340008 and GR4340014 and Biosphere Reserve in the framework of the “Man and Biosphere” Programme of UNESCO).

The National Park is characterized by a high degree of endemism in fauna and flora, determining a rich biodiversity. The area houses 172 endemic species and subspecies. In the past years a complete survey has begun in order to identify the Park’s central environmental characteristics. Nowadays, the monitoring system is comprised by: 1) Monitoring and surveillance of 15 terrestrial habitats and 34 species of flora. 2) Monitoring and surveillance of 256 species of avifauna. 3) Monitoring and surveillance of all possible species of fauna, including coastal and marine species. 4) Monitoring and surveillance of two marine habitats. 5) Recording of meteorological and hydrological conditions via four meteo-stations located in the vicinity of the National Park and transmittance of data through the internet. 

Secche della Meloria Marine Protected Area

The locality Secche della Meloria has been proposed for the realization of a marine park since the 1970s, and it was included in the early 80's among the twenty areas listed in the law 979/82 "Disposizioni per la difesa del mare" (Measures for the protection of the sea) for the establishment of Marine Reserves. It was definitively established with Ministerial Decree on 28th July, 2009. Its management was entrusted to the Migliarino, San Rossore, Massaciuccoli Regional Park.

The MPA extends over a sea surface of 9,372 hectare, and it is situated 3 miles far from the coast of Livorno extending for about 12 km offshore. It consists of 3 protected areas: Zone A: integral natural reserve, only the scientific research activities authorized by the Park Authority are allowed. Zone B: generic reserve, access allowed for boats respecting the eco-friendliness requirements, bathing, scuba diving, tourism fishing, small-scale and sport fishing for residents are also allowed. Zone C: partial reserve, sailing allowed for liners with a speed under 10 knots, sport fishing allowed upon prior authorization of the Park Authority.

The seafloor consists of several different habitats, such as marine phanerogams grasslands, rock formations, sandy sediment expanses and coral concretions. The prevalent element is represented by the Posidonia oceanica grasslands, that extend up to the bathymetric line of 30 meters and host a high biodiversity, functioning as nursery for many fish species of high trade significance.

Strunjan Landscape Park

The Strunjan Landscape Park was instituted on 2nd February 1990, with the aim to protect natural values and preserving biological and landscape diversity. Towards the end of 2008, the Decision Establishing the ‘Landscape Park Strunjan’ Public Institute was passed. Since then, the Landscape Park Strunjan has been managed by the homonymous public institute.

In the Park there are some particular habitats, such as Stjuža, the only Slovenian sea lagoon, or the Cliff of Strunjan which is the highest cliff in the Adriatic, formed out of precipitous flysch rock. This is also the longest stretch of natural seashore in the entire 130 kilometre coastline between Grado, Italy, and Savudrija, Croatia, which circumscribes the Gulf of Trieste.. The cultural landscape with dispersed settlement, rural hedges and terraces separated by dry-stone walls, allows a quality co-existence of man and nature. The Strunjan saltpans (still operative) and the Stjuža Lagoon (remains of formerly extensive fish farming) are also part of this landscape, marking off its area of saltwater wetlands. 

Contact Person: sara@parkstrunjan.si; marjana@parkstrunjan.si; luka@parkstrunjan.si

Webpage: parkstrunjan.si/en/