Maremma coast

The study area, representing the coast in front of the Tuscany Region, extends from the Chiarone river mouth to the Elba island. In particular, the monitoring area will affect the sea zone that includes all the Maremma Regional Park and the southern portion of the Cetacean sanctuary, where Z.P.S and S.I.C under Natura 2000 network are included. Thanks to its considerable wealth of plankton and pelagic life, the area is characterised, especially during the summer months, by an extraordinary presence of cetaceans of all the Mediterranean species. The stretch of sea of the Tuscan coast holds a particular interest from the cetological point of view so much that, in 1999, a zone of biological protection called “International Sanctuary of Cetaceans” was established. This wide area is protected by the current rules governing the types of fishing and, in particular, have a total ban on the use of driftnets. The Tuscan coast has been included in the Sanctuary, for the presence of the many species of mammal marine life in the Mediterranean among which 8 cetaceans regularly present: common bottlenose dolphin (Tursiops truncatus), common dolphin (Delphinus delphis), fin whales (Balaenoptera physalus), striped dolphin (Stenella coeruleoalba), sperm whale (Physeter macrocephalus), long-finned pilot whale (Globicephala melas), Risso’s dolphin (Grampus griseus) and Cuvier’s beaked whale (Ziphius cavirostris). Despite the attractiveness of the species, human activities represent a significant threat. In the last two centuries, accidental fishing and collisions with boats have brought various species to the brink of extinction; chemical pollution, moreover, intoxicates and alters their physiology and noise pollution interferes with their social and food activities.

Tavolara – Punta Coda Cavallo MPA

This marine and coastal area includes three islands (Tavolara, Molara, Molarotto). The area is divided into zones with different levels of protection. This MPA is chiaracterized by the presence of Tursiops truncatus, Grampus griseus and Balenoptera physalus. It is interested by a season tourism. This flow of people supports the commercial activities, in particular tourism infrastructure. Restoration and location are the main employment sectors together with business activities and rearing while agriculture is not developed. 11 diving centre are in the MPA while 15 are outside the MPA but dive inside the protected area. There are about 16 diving spots, 8 are the more visited, for a total of 9429 SCUBA dives per year. A small amount of the population is employed in the professional fishing, about 10 fishermen in the MPA territories. The recreative fish, instead, counts about 2000 fisherman per year.

Punta Campanella MPA

The Punta Campanella MPA includes the coast from Punta del Capo to Punta Germano. The MPA is divided into 3 zones with a different degree of protection: A, integral reserve (2 areas); B, general reserve (3 areas); C: partial reserve (3 areas). The Marine Protected Area of Punta Campanella, in recent years, has been strongly influenced by the presence of dolphins. Unfortunately, although extremely fascinating to observe at sea, especially for the many tourists present during the year, these mammals create many problems for small scale local fishermen. In fact, many fishermen say that they destroy their nets to eat, with considerable economic damage. Also, even if there is not much information on this, surely even the dolphins are damaged by the fishermen when in some cases, they become entangled in their nettings in some cases, they remain injured or even worse die. The presence of the species (Tursiops truncatus) is documented in the area and the issue of interaction with fisheries is important.

AMP Egadi Islands

The MPA surrounds the islands of Favignana, Levanzo and Marettimo, and Maraone and Formica. The choice of the Egadi Islands as location for the actions of the project is strategic and important for several reasons: the Egadi Islands are the largest marine protected area in the Mediterranean. The MPA area also coincides with the SCI area ITA010024 “Seabed of the Egadi Islands Archipelago” and includes the SPA ITA010027 “Egadi Islands Archipelago – marine and land area”. It is a site of great importance both from an environmental and socio-economic point of view, where human activities interfere with the protection and conservation of dolphins. In fact, the Egadi Islands are a particularly popular tourist destination for bathing, yachting and scuba diving. The development of tourism has also encouraged the creation of new companies offering tourist services, increasing the anthropic pressure on this area. In recent years, the MPA’s management body has implemented a strict management programme, collaborating in various projects for the conservation and protection of marine habitats and introducing rules, which aim at sustainable use, allowing human activities but respecting the marine environment.

North Adriatic – Cres-Lošinj

The Natura 2000 site Cres-Lošinj is an important area for the population of bottlenose dolphins living there. Considering that this area is also heavily exploited by fishing activities, mainly trawling, the interactions between dolphins and fishing activities are common.

Western Istria

Surface area 76297 hectares. Marine area characterized by islets, coastal cliffs, bays and beaches, lagoons, deep cliffs and caves. The waters of western Istria, a Natura 2000 SCI, are an important area for bottlenose dolphins. At the same time, the area is subject to intense fishing activities that contribute to the exploitation of fishery resources through trawling and passive nets. Interactions between dolphins and fisheries are frequent and have negative consequences for both.

North Adriatic – Po River Delta

The coast in front of the Po River Delta, from Venice Lagoon to the Po di Goro mouth, extends for 30,000.000 hectares.
The current knowledge of the status of Cetacean species in the Adriatic Sea indicate that the common bottlenose dolphin is regularly present in the entire Adriatic Sea as one of the most abundant population in the Mediterranean. The striped dolphin, the Risso’s dolphin and the Cuvier’s beaked whale are present in different densities only in the southern Adriatic, while sperm whales occasionally visit the area. For these reasons, it has been proposed the Norther Adriatic as an Important Marine Mammals Area (IMMA).
Besides marine mammals, the Norther Adriatic including the Veneto Region waters hosts a high numbers of loggerhead turtles, as evidenced by stranding and bycatch records, and the area is recognised as one of the most important foraging areas for the species in the Mediterranean. Therefore, basically all the individuals frequenting the Adriatic Sea have moved from other places.
Interactions between fisheries and bottlenose dolphins are frequent and documented.

Central Adriatic

The Adriatic coast of Marche region has a high population density that reaches the maximum level in Summer due to a large presence of tourists. Fishery activities are well developed, thanks to the high productivity of this sea. Majour fishing fleets occur in Ancona and Civitanova Marche harbours, targeting both demersal and pelagic species. Furthermore the naval traffic represents an important human activity in this area, with Ancona being an important junction for the maritime trade. The area has also a strong presence of endangered marine species as sea turtle Caretta caretta, bluefin tuna Thunnus thynnus and bottlenose dolphins Tursiops truncatus, that inhabit these highly productive waters mainly for alimentary purposes. This leads to a constant interaction between fishermen and these protected species, with increasing demands to find a balance between environmental and economic sustainability.

Torre del Cerrano MPA

The MPA “Torre del Cerrano” includes a narrow area ‘B’ (approximately 1 km), a zone ‘C’ of 14 km2, extending along the entire length of the waterfront to approximately 2 km from the coast and a large area ‘D’ of approximately 22 km2 up to the 3-nautical mile limit. The MPA area overlaps the SCI IT7120215 “Torre del Cerrano”.
The marine area includes seven kilometers of coast and completes a program of protection and enhancement of the environment alongside the network of underwater oases that have allowed, in recent years, the conservation, repopulation and study of the marine ecosystem. A good number of marine animal species, both pelagic (such as dolphins) and benthic, characterize the rich marine environment of this area. It a site of great importance not only from an environmental point of view, but also at a socio-economic level (fishing, tourism, etc.).

Aeolian archipelago

The islands of the Aeolian Archipelago represent the upper part of a submarine of volcanic origin. Craft fishing, tourism and the construction industry are the main economic sectors present.
Several studies conducted in recent years in the Aeolian archipelago underline the importance of this area for the maintenance of biodiversity, being a place for the migration routes of Caretta Caretta and Physeter macrocephalus, Falco eleonorae, Hydrobates pelagicus and a route for dolphins such as Tursiops truncatus and Stenella coeruleoalba. Artisanal fishery, tourism and construction industry are the main economic sectors.