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MEDSEAGRASS, a project to rebuild and protect the "forests" of the sea

A laboratory to study the restoration of Posidonia Oceanica meadows and the tools for their protection. MEDSEAGRASS is the project to which the MEDSEA Foundation began in partnership with the Protected Marine Area of the Sinis Peninsula - Mal di Ventre Island. MEDSEAGRASS is funded by the MAVA Foundation and represents the continuation of the conservation actions carried out within the Maristanis project, focused on the protection and sustainable development of the wetlands and coastal areas of the Gulf of Oristano.

Illegal trawling, the improper use of nets and anchoring systems are among the main causes of degradation of Posidonia Oceanica beds in the Mediterranean Sea. "Posidonia is the most important habitat in the marine environment. It can be compared to forests. It produces oxygen and absorbs carbon dioxide, it hosts multitudes of species and stabilizes the seabed and dampens the wave motion, reducing the erosive processes of the coast”, explains Giorgio Massaro, MEDSEA marine biologist involved in MEDSEAGRASS.

The project provides for the reconstitution of the Posidonia on an area of 300 square meters, and a subsequent governance activity that aims, with the use of an app, to nullify the impact of the moorings in the area. A few weeks ago, the analysis of the seabed and identification of the most suitable site for the planting of Posidonia were completed. They have been carried out thanks to the use of an underwater drone.

"In general, the Posidonia of our MPA is in excellent health. However, we found some areas that show signs of wear due to anchoring. Sometimes Posidonia seems to be eroded by the repeated anchoring of small boats. But we also spotted deep (though rare) furrows on the seabed, probably left by more important boats. MEDSEAGRASS is also important as a pilot action that aims to verify the planting process in an area already widely regulated such as the MPA", continues Massaro.

"The MPA is happy to seize the opportunity represented by MEDSEAGRASS. The collaboration with MEDSEA and the MAVA Foundation is always fruitful, we work well together", says the director of the MPA Penisola del Sinis-Isola di Mal di Ventre, marine biologist Massimo Marras. “The laboratory established in our area is very important for the trial of planting techniques. At the same time, the project is functional in the continuation of our habitat conservation strategy, especially in relation to the problem of anchors. The information app for boaters will become a very important tool for managing the traffic".

The project is part of the M4 and M5 strategies of the MAVA Foundation for the period 2016-2022, focused on reducing anthropogenic impacts in the marine context.

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