The Cape Milazzo's Marine Reserve - Sicily

Now it's a reality for all the world !

   Education first: the Milazzian geological period  is that when the Milazzo peninsula rises from the sea by telluric movements and in this period the Mediterranean sea originates. This is the reason why the Marine Reserve of Cape Milazzo is very important for all the world. See also >> Terrestrial Reserve

delfini, capo milazzo, secca ponente

Pack of dolphins spotted 200 meters from the shores of Capo Milazzo

From 17 May 2018, the Marine Reserve of Capo Milazzo is a reality. We thank the Logos who created these places and opened the minds of the third millennium. The Marine Protected Area of ​​Capo Milazzo officially becomes a reality. The Minister for the Environment, Gianluca Galletti signed the decree establishing the Marine Protected Area of ​​Capo Milazzo. When the  Capo di Milazzo Earth Reserve will be established?
Not only does it smell of sulfur and irritating sulfur dioxide from the remains of oil burned and dispersed in the air by industries, while they make fun of us and speak of sulphurous smell of the sewers: we milazzesi are sea and nature for 1,500,000 years, and that sea ! No one can think of offending the lush beauty of Creation and Creatures with impunity! The Right City is governed by just laws, where children are like fathers and peace and well-being re-flourishes ... (Hesiod)

To my  sea nymph Calypsos, 

The webmaster, Claudio Italiano, thanks the AMP Committee of Cape Milazzo and its President dott. Gianfranco Scotti for his precious work
We thank Legambiente del Tirreno, in the person of Pippo Ruggeri for the introduction. And, last but not least, the divers of the "Bavosa" Sub Group: Marta Rifici, exceptional photographer for us at Gastroepato della Riserva Marina, Caterina Cipriano, consultant and the diver friends who immersed themselves in the depths of the Marine Reserve of Capo Milazzo

What is a protected marine area?

Marine protected areas consist of coastal and non-coastal areas, where human activities are partially or totally limited. In marine reserves it is absolutely forbidden to abandon waste on the beaches. The following activities are subject to variable regulation: sport fishing, professional fishing, scuba diving, entry with polluting means of transport (motor boats, motorcycles, cars). The type of these areas varies according to the protection constraints. The Capo di Milazzo, at the end of the homonymous peninsula, was one of the most ancient

Aragosta, secca di Ponente

Lobster, west shoal

Aeolian islands which, following floods from the mainland, have now joined. This ancient origin and an analogous natural beauty inserts it fully in the context of the archipelago and as such can be enhanced. The terrestrial and marine reserves together can enhance a single complex naturalistic scenario including diversified habitats. Fortunately, the game of currents that invest the Cape make its waters absolutely uncontaminated by rejecting the pollution from the city and industries. This has allowed the development of a vast prairie of poseidonia, an aquatic plant, which extends above all from the eastern part and which constitutes the energetic basis of the whole faunal system of the seabed, constituting a source of food and shelter for a wide variety of molluscs and both permanent and migratory fish. All this makes the waters of the Cape a kind of natural fish nursery that would allow if preserved by continuous fish withdrawals or from occasional as ruinous drains of materials dredged an excellent fishiness of the whole surrounding area. This is the reserve function of the Marine Reserve, which would allow not only the protection of the environment but also the promotion of the non-invasive activity of local fishermen, who would be guaranteed the exclusive right to the area. Among other things, the activity of local fishermen has an ancient anthropological value that blends with the environment and evokes the culture of the Mediterranean in the tourist. Tourism is the other great possibility that the Reserve can offer as it would ensure the enjoyment, discreet and respectful, to divers and lovers of the sea, which would also offer coastal itineraries on land and sea with the circumnavigation of the Cape. The Marine Reserve is inserted not only in the context of the economic valorization of the vocations of the territory, but also of a more general interest of the City towards the sea to which it is naturally linked.

The Capo Milazzo

Flabellina, secca di Ponente, Capo Milazzo

Flabellina, west shoal, Capo Milazzo

The sea, the Aeolian Islands, the Peloritani and Milazzo mountains, a strip of overlapping colors that go from the marine blue to the green of the vegetable mantle, through the white and ocher of the cliffs. For those who come from the sea or for those who come along the northern coast of Sicily, Milazzo appears a land unto itself, an island. In fact it was surrounded by the sea since its origins: only later it was joined to the mainland by the alluvial isthmus. Emerged around 1,500,000 years ago (between the Tertiary and the Quaternary) following tectonic movements that took him to an average altitude of 60 meters, the promontory presents everywhere signs of its geology, such as sedimentary rocks and fossils of organisms marine. Milazzo was inhabited since the Neolithic era and for the historical vicissitudes has seen change and, fortunately, not to devastate its territory; so that today, with its rich and varied flora and fauna, it remains a very interesting naturalistic "island".

General objectives of marine reserve

The promontory of Capo Milazzo, between the Gulf of Patti and the Gulf of Milazzo, in the natural landscape of the eastern coasts of eastern Sicily characterized by low coasts with modest environmental and landscape importance, represents the most fragile and most prone to damage induced dall'antropizzazione. Despite the problems that afflict it, this territory still has great potential that, correctly used through an integrated management action, could guarantee the protection of the environment and sustainable tourism development, offering, even, new employment. The problem must therefore be tackled in a comprehensive manner, reaching what is now universally defined as the "integrated coastal zone management" (ICZM, Integrated Coastal Zones Management) whose objective is the sustainable use of coastal natural resources and the maintenance of their biodiversity through an environmental development plan aimed at increasing the social and economic prosperity of coastal communities in the long term; facilitating the interaction of the different coastal economic sectors and resolving conflicts. It is absolutely evident how a coastal environment, inserted in a strongly anthropized territorial context, can be safeguarded only through the long-term realization of an effective territorial protection policy that lightens the coastal strip from anthropic pressure and the contribution of polluting substances.

Scorfano, secca di Ponente -capo Milazzo

Scorpionfish,  from west shoal- Cape Milazzo

The area to be subjected to protection measures

The area in question falls in north-eastern Sicily, in the territory of the municipality of Milazzo. The area to be subjected to conservation and protection measures is the promontory of Capo Milazzo and the two adjacent areas that extend to the east and west of the cape promontory, including the long portion of the low coast that runs parallel westward at the west promenade of the city of Milazzo and the rocky coast of the eastern sector of the promontory which includes the port area and the industrial area of ​​the municipality of Milazzo. It is a densely populated area, where all aspects of anthropization are present: from coastal towns, to residential and holiday buildings, from tourist to industrial complexes. The promontory of Capo Milazzo has been included in the list of sites of Community importance (SCI) for the Mediterranean biogeographical region in accordance with Directive 92/43 / EEC (Ordinary Supplement No. 167 to OJ No. 170 of 24 July 2007) . Any management intervention can not be separated from an adequate knowledge of the environmental situation. This level of knowledge can be obtained through adequate and in-depth basic studies in which the information defines the main characteristics of the abiotic (ie non-living) environment, the state of the biological community and the degree of interaction of both. Through an investigation that integrates the activities of geologists, marine biologists and ecologists with the users of the sea (fishermen, divers, environmental associations) it will be possible to acquire the information necessary for the knowledge of the area in question and the preparation of protection measures and monitoring. In the assessment of the state and of the pressures that affect the marine and coastal environment, the shortcomings in current knowledge are evident. The main limits to the study and formulation of an integrated management plan arise from insufficient data on various aspects of the ecosystem that is to be protected:Stella Marina, secca di Ponente Capo Milazzo
The natural characteristics: morphology, climatic and hydrographic conditions of the coastal strip
Human activities (sectors): urbanization, tourism, loading and unloading, through the rivers, of contaminants produced by the coastal population, agriculture, maritime traffic, the oil industry and the influence of fishing and aquaculture activities, which exert pressure on the marine and coastal environment
The environmental status and the main threats, including the state of eutrophication, pollution, the irrational exploitation of resources fisheries
The sensitivity of the ecosystem and the impacts of climate change, changes in biodiversity. Cernia, Marine Reserve of Capo Milazzo Naturalistic MotionsThe coastal strip of the territory of Milazzo presents very evident problems: ecosystems of great value, in fact, very important for the functions of refuge and reproduction of numerous fish species, bear the weight of an excessive fishing effort from part of the professional and sport fishing that, together with the impact deriving from the ever increasing anthropization (sewage discharges, industrial development, etc.) have led to the depletion of precious biological resources of great economic value. To this is added an intensive exploitation with non-selective tools, such as purse nets on shallow water and which operate in disregard of existing regulations and checks by the authorities responsible for the purpose. These tools operate above all on the "dry" (and the numerous nets abandoned on the seabed are testimony) that represent, with their ravines, caves, etc, a preferential site of refuge of numerous valuable fish species, such as bream, groupers and lobsters, and also act as aggregation zone of pelagic species that hunt in the surroundings. A fundamental criterion for choosing a marine area to be subjected to conservation measures c biological diversity. This parameter is related to the richness of species and depends on many conditions, not least the environmental diversity

Cernia, Riserva Marina di Capo Milazzo

Grouper, Marine Reserve of Cape Milazzo

understood as the variety of habitats that make up a territory (sinuosity of the coast, roughness of the seabed, number of biocenosis on the sea bed). For the purpose of the development of a coastal protection plan that is realized with the creation of a Marine Protected Area, the detailed knowledge of the flora and fauna of the places is an indispensable condition. Among the environmental characteristics of the area is important to underline the presence of animal and plant species and communities included in the National Regulations, European Directives (Habitat ali 2, 3, 4) and International Conventions (Berne, Cites) which establish measures of protection and conservation, prohibiting their collection, damage to sites and the disturbance: a - The vermetide mollusc platform; b - The band with Astroides calycularis; c -1 banks at Cladocora caespitosa; d -1 sciafile populations; and - The populations at Corallium rubrum; f - The caves and the submerged cavities; g - Posidonia oceanica prairie. The list of species and of the animal and vegetable communities of considerable ecological importance, found along the promontory coast, is the result, albeit concise, of the observations conducted in recent years. For the description please refer to Annex I

Socio-cultural and economic motivations

Murena, Secca di Ponente -Capo Milazzo, Riserva Marina

Moray, west shoal -Cape Milazzo

The environmental component has long since become a primary component of tourism products and in some cases is the foundation of the product itself (green issues, sea), in other cases it becomes a conditioning factor in the choices of tourists (quality of the territory). The promotional and promotional activities of the "sustainable tourism" product can be considered as an added value of the tourism proposal: attention to the environment and its protection represent a high quality element of the supply and a perceived value of the demand , especially the foreign one. It becomes an effective element of communication and is also connoted as a tool for enhancing the territory; Careful planning of tourism development, based therefore on sustainable development, appears particularly appropriate, precisely in relation to the peculiarities of this activity which is closely linked to the natural environment and to the historical and cultural heritage of the place. The degradation or destruction of these resources reduces the attractiveness of the areas, to the end of the tourist activity itself.
Sustainable tourism, on the other hand, is a model of economic development aimed at:
1. improve the quality of life of the host community;
2. provide visitors with a high quality experience;
3. to maintain good the quality of the environment to which both the local community and visitors are linked.


Craft fishingStella Marina, Capo Milazzo, Riserva Marina

Artisanal fishing is the most sensitive activity to all forms of aggression on the coast. It inevitably suffers from pollution, urbanization of the coasts, tourism and all the activities that develop along the coasts and could play a role of "environmental protection" on the marine territory, continuously monitoring the state of the environment and denouncing events that tend to reduce their quality. The management proposals that concern the coastal strip can not ignore the socio-economic aspect that this reality represents. The current economic situation, dominated by the tendency to maximize profits, has penalized traditional activities such as small-scale fishing, determining a state of crisis, all the more if it is forced to coexist with parallel activities organized industrially like trawling. Therefore, on small craft fishing, it is necessary to operate with a new approach that exceeds the limits dictated by the distrust of the fishermen, by a sector dominated by individualism, by the absence of clarity above all in terms of catches and economic aspects. The hypothesis is emerging, at least at the theoretical level, that small fishing, being inextricably linked to the marine territory, could represent not only the basis of responsible exploitation of resources, but also the reality on which to trigger a new role of environmental protection.


Gruppo di Subacquei Bavosa,

The sub group "Bavosa": Marta Rifici lower right

Reasons for the establishment of the Protected Marine Area of ​​Capo Milazzo

When we talk about protection of the sea we must first consider the role of the coastal strip and its "subordinate" condition with respect to the hinterland. The marine ecosystem is managed, therefore, above all protecting the boundary with the emerged land and rationally planning the distribution and development of human activities. A correct program of territorial organization is based on the principle of contiguity in the territorial mosaic of "productive" bands (ie subject to the exploitation of resources and therefore "polluting" or harmful to the environment) and "unproductive" areas ("non-polluting" "), subtracted from exploitation and subject to protection. With this in mind, the MPAs are inserted as areas of particular biodiversity and of exceptional landscape interest, to be preserved intact, but also to be used as a privileged observatory for the study of an environment under natural or controlled conditions. The establishment of a protected marine ark alone does not solve the problem of conservation of the coastal environment, but at least allows to save from speculation and degradation a biotope-symbol, characterized by the prevailing biological, landscape and expressive interest of the cultural values ​​of an entire territory and vulnerable (ie susceptible to the irremediable loss of the characteristics of uniqueness and interest following improper or inadequate interventions). Up to now, information on the socio-economic effects that the establishment of a Marine Reserve determines in the territory on which it falls are very positive. However, it is necessary to overcome the initial hostility of the local populations and encourage them to collaborate, clearly exposing the advantages of protection. In this direction the intense work of involvement that the Comunal Administration  of Milazzo, the AMP Committee Capo Milazzo and the Department of Ecology of the University of Palermo are carrying out, successfully, involving all the actors of this path (professional fishermen, sport fishermen, environmental associations, tourism operators). A first success obtained was the total consent, by all the involved subjects, draft of a zoning outline of the marine area facing Capo Milazzo. The zoning proposal, with the three areas with different levels of protection and a general outline of the main activities that could be allowed, was favorably received by the community (Annex 2). It is now clear that the collaboration and participation of citizens greatly increases the chances of a successful establishment of a protected area and its subsequent management. The hostility of the riparian communities can, on the other hand, lead to the failure of any good initiative. The human factor is therefore important, but it should not be considered exclusive or superior to naturalistic interests. The path taken aims to resolve the conflict between different needs: the protection of the environment and that of development, trying to reach a synthesis at a higher level where protection, the most rigorous as possible, is intrinsically compatible with a high level of development ( which is not only economic, but is also and above all social, civil, cultural). The creation of a "Promontory of Capo Milazzo" AMP could play an important role in a hypothesis of integrated management of the coastal strip, both for its cultural and tourist significance and for its ecological role. If properly managed, the marine protected area could contribute to maintaining the balance and productivity of the marine ecosystem, defend critical habitats, preserve biodiversity, and also contribute to the sustainable use of coastal areas using ecosystems and their biological resources in a rational way, limiting itself to taking part of the production, leaving an adequate quantity of individuals capable of reproducing and multiplying intact.The main purposes that lead to the creation of marine protected areas can be summarized in this way: protection of biological values and ecological (this appears to be the main purpose of the establishment of a marine protected area) restoration, maintenance and increase of biological and ecological values ​​that have been reduced or otherwise damaged by human activities promotion of the sustainable use of resources monitoring, research, education and training, to deepen the knowledge on the coastal marine environment creation of forms of recreation and tourism compatible with the protection of the environment.

These motivations highlight the role of the A.M.P. towards the "anthropic component" as regards the regulation of human activities and the planning efforts necessary to pursue the aforementioned purposes. In fact, the establishment of a protected area does not imply only the introduction of restrictions or limitations in the use of environmental resources, but also the enhancement of natural or landscape peculiarities and the identification of new economic opportunities. The promontory of Capo Milazzo, inserted in a wide environmental context consisting of the archipelago of the Aeolian Islands, falls within an area of ​​international tourist interest whose remarkable natural and landscape beauties are known all over the world to the point to attract, every year, remarkable visitor flows. A careful exploitation of the area, through the implementation of measures to protect and maintain biological and ecological values, monitoring, research, environmental education would encourage the development of a new type of tourism, more attentive to environmental quality and more distributed throughout the year, whose economic benefits could be distributed within the host society (hotels, restaurants, shops, etc). To do this, a participatory process has been launched, involving all the local actors, so that they feel the protagonists of the development and management of their territory. Tourism development could be a unifying factor within society. This area could in fact represent a pilot area of ​​particular relevance for the development of sustainable development models that also include artisanal fishing. Defining these models can allow on one hand the reduction of fishing effort through the use of selective and eco-compatible technologies and on the other it can lead to an improvement in the socio-economic conditions of the sector.
In summary, it is believed that the protection of a fragile environment and at the same time full of potentially differentiated potentials can lead to numerous advantages such as:
enhancement of the site as a resource, given the improvement of the environment on land and at sea.
enhancement of the image of the place, as it will make the tourist area more attractive. Development of services and services, in particular through the conversion of marginal assets into more profitable businesses;
the contribution to educating citizens to respect the territory in which they live, given the awareness that the quality of life of each is a direct consequence of the quality of the environment in which we live.

List of animal and vegetable species and communities of considerable ecological importance found along the coast of the promontory of Capo Milazzo and already subject to national and international protection measures

The vermeti platform

Gorgonie, Capo Milazzo, secca di Ponente, area marina protettaThe vermeti platform is a biogenic construction due to the sessile gasteropods Dendropoma petraeum (Monterosato). This structure is extremely abundant and reveals an excellent level of structure right on the extreme tip of Capo Milazzo. The coastal bioforms of Molluschi Vermetidae, which appear as horizontal platforms formed by the aggregated colonial growth of the shells of this gastropod mollusc develop in the tidal zone. The interests of these bioconstructions are manifold:
- first the point distribution, and only locally abundant, increases its importance from the biogeographical point of view and makes them equivalent to endemics;
- secondly, bioconstructions are present only in subtropical or warm-temperate waters, and show a surprising number of similarities with the fringing coral reefs of tropical seas, especially in terms of biodiversity;
- their localization in the intermareal band facilitates observation and detection, but at the same time increases their vulnerability and sensitivity to external agents;
- their nature as sessile animals, by definition more sensitive to environmental stress and to the damaging effects of polluting events, gives these structures a potential role of "ecological indicator".
- they are rigid structures that limit the erosion of the back coastal area, absorbing most of the hydrodynamic impacts coming from the sea.
The species is included in the list of marine species endangered or threatened with extinction in the Mediterranean (Boudouresque et al, 1996) and is included in the list of species to be protected by the Berne Ap Convention. 2
Threat factors - The main threat to the survival of this bioconstruction comes directly from human action and secondarily from climatic variations. The uncontrolled anthropization of the coastal strip causes evident regression phenomena of the platform. The discharge to the sea of ​​waste materials (so-called "sprays"), coming from construction works, the contribution of soil due to the run-off phenomena of coastal land without good plant cover and the uncontrolled or abusive discharge of industrial and urban wastewater lead to the degradation and subsequent destruction of the platform. To the damages deriving from the terrestrial anthropic contributions must be added those coming from the sea. In fact, motorboats, with their passage, alter local hydrodynamics
causing small-scale variations in the frequency and height of the waves, which result in changes in filtration rates by molluscs and a decrease in food efficiency, which in turn determines a stress state of the organisms. A second cause of threat, always deriving from motor boats and urban wastewater, is given by the spillage of oils and surfactants which, by forming a film on the surface of the water, slow down or inhibit the filtering capacity of the organisms. Finally, a final but not insignificant contribution to the destruction of this important bioconstruction derives from the direct action of man through trampling (or '* trampling "), especially during the summer period.

The band at Astroides calycularis

This madrepora generally occupies the bathymetric band that goes from 2 to 5 meters deep and is located on the parts of the cliff less subject to anthropic disturbance and more exposed to an intense water change. It grows luxuriant immediately beneath the surface, strictly aggregated in thousands of red-orange individuals, to form a continuous belt with an appearance of very high aesthetic impact. For this reason it is considered among the most beautiful and easiest to observe biotic associations. Therefore, not only is it a reliable ecological indicator of the purity of the water and the good conservation status of the coast, but it is extremely important from a landscape point of view, so protecting this zone defends the integrity of the ecosystem and a possible attraction for underwater tourism.

Threat factors - The withdrawal by aquariums, organic pollution and traces of chemical pollution.
The species is included in the list of marine species endangered or threatened with extinction in the Mediterranean (Bern Convention Ap. 2).
According to the classification of Boudouresque et al. (1996), is included among the "rare" species, threatened to a "medium" degree, which could become "serious" within ten years.

cladocora caespitosaThe banks of Cladocora caespitos

Cladocora caespitosa is a colonial madrepora with a calcareous skeleton formed by more or less branched individuals. The shape of the colony varies from compact bearings, even 50 cm in diameter in surface waters, to increasingly ramified forms at greater depths. It lives on rocky or stony bottoms up to 600 m depth. It is the largest stock of the Mediterranean. Along the coast of the promontory of Capo Milazzo there are numerous banks of this madrepora that in some areas reach considerable size. Inside the tissues lie the zcoxanthellae, microalghc of green color visible in the well lit colonies. Threat factors - Symbiosis with zooxanthellae makes this species particularly vulnerable to surface water heating. In fact, during the summer and autumn periods, completely white colonies are easily observed, damaged by the loss of the symbionts, which manifest the worrying phenomenon of bleaching. The recurrence of such episodes causes a widespread rarefaction of the species, even if the presence of numerous small colonies in some areas suggests a good resilience. This body is included in several lists of protected or threatened species attached to international conventions (Annex II Conv. Berna and Annex II Protocol of Specially Protected Areas of Mediterranean Importance -ASPIM, Barcelona Convention-).

Sciafili populations

A naturalistic entity worthy of protection is represented by the sciafili populations (which prefer low luminosity environments) and by the coralligenous. The direct exposure to the north and the low luminosity of the overhanging seabed favor the development of sciaphilous concretions. The roughness of the substratum also increases the settlement of the larvae and the formation of shelters occupied by a rich endolithic fauna. This biotope hosts very rich and diversified animal and plant populations. Coralligenous is formed by the concretization of various plant and animal organisms on a pre-existing rocky substratum. The animal component is definitely prevalent, with clear dominance of the Cnidario Ottocorallo Paramuricea clavata (Red Gorgonia). The algal cover is made up of calcareous red algae encrusting (Pseudolithophyllum expansum, Lithothamnium fruticulosum and Melobesie) and some green algae adapted to low light conditions such as Halimeda urn and Udotea petiolata. Among the most representative animal populations: Eunicella singularis (white Gorgonia), Eunicella cavolinii (yellow Gorgonia).

Corallium rubrum populations

It is a species that occupies a wide bathymetric range (from a few meters in the cave up to a depth of 300 m, typically between 40 and 100 m). It prefers rocky environments with little light, in fact large populations are established even in semioscure caves. In the most favorable areas, densities of 300 to 1000 colonies per m2 are reached. Colonies can generally reach 20 cm in height, rarely up to 40 cm. The growth rate is slow, around 2-8 tran year in height. A species that was once widespread in the Mediterranean, today it is in rarefaction throughout its range. The regions where the coral is still relatively abundant are the coasts of Morocco and Tunisia, Bocche di Bonifacio and Spain. In Italy it is reported on both the Adriatic and the Ionian and Tyrrhenian. Regardless of the substratum on which these phanerogams settle, they often change the plant sediment considerably: the posidonia is considered a sediment trap for the braking action of the leaves.

Functions of the prairies

Posidonia oceanica meadows play a very important role in the ecological economy of the coastal system. First of all, thanks to their anchoring system given by roots and rhizomes, they stabilize the sediments and prevent the erosion of the seabed; in addition, the mechanical filter opposite to the long leaves traps the suspended materials and dampens the action of the waves, thus helping to slow down the erosion of the beaches. We have seen, for example, that the regression of only one meter of the posidonieto causes a retreat of the beach of about 15 meters.
But in addition to the purely mechanical action described above, the prairie plays an equally important function as a biological ecosystem. The high production of foliar biomass, together with that of the algal epiphytes that cover the leaves, triggers a very complex food web to which a large quantity of animal organisms belongs. The prairies offer food, shelter and breeding grounds to numerous species of Fish, Crustaceans and Molluscs of economic interest.

Current situation

The situation along the coast of the municipality of Milazzo shows alarming aspects due to certainly complex causes, but with a good approximation due to the growing anthropogenic pressure on the coastal strip. Most of the prairies of P. oceanica are located near bays and close to the points of Capo Milazzo. In these areas, especially in the summer, the anchors of the boats are concentrated. The continuous plowing of the prairie in the phases of recovery of the anchors and the removal of posidonia plants are causing a slow but inexorable regression of the prairies. The excessive anchors, the pollution from urban and industrial discharges complete the picture of the causes of the degradation that in some areas has now reached alarming dimensions.

Collaborations in progress with the Department of Ecology of the University of Palermo

The Department of Ecology, with its Marine Conservation Laboratory and Coastal Band Management, is currently carrying out some research collaborations with the AMP Capo Milazzo Committee. The first concerns the analysis of the participatory process for the establishment of the marine protected area. Through the use of questionnaires and specially made analytical tools, the perception that the different actors / users of the AMP will be evaluated before it is established. This approach allows us to understand how the presence of a protected area is seen, what are the expectations and what are the fears. By repeating the analyzes over time, the variation in the perception of the presence of the AMP can be observed in relation to the achievement of the pre-established naturalistic and socio-economic objectives. A second line of research concerns the evaluation of the distribution of sensitive biotic structures. The first to be evaluated is the vermeti platform, of which the distribution along the head, the macrostructure and the state of conservation has been mapped. This will allow us to understand the initial state of the structure along the different sides of the promontory and how conservation can improve the condition of the platform. The second structure that will be subsequently taken into consideration is the infralittoral band to Astroides calycularis. Also for this sensitive bioformation the distribution along the head, the density of the colonies and the conservation status will be evaluated, using some descriptors such as the state of the cenenchyma, the number of polyps per colony and the number of dead polyps with respect to the total.

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