Previous Next

Anti-trawling systems from Sardinia marble quarries: a new MEDSEA project with University of Cagliari

MEDSEA is studying anti-trawling solutions derived from marble processing waste in Sardinia with the University of Cagliari - DICAAR Department as a natural continuation of the "Saturn" Anti-trawling Structures for the Natural Restoration and Protection of the Sinis Peninsula - Mal Di Ventre Island. At the beginning of the year, in the SATURN project in collaboration with the Flag Pescando Sardegna Occidentale, about sixty concrete anti trawling systems were placed off the Sinis Coast to inhibit illegal trawling and the advance of nets in the seabed. 

This summer, thanks to the collaboration between the MEDSEA Foundation and the DICAAR of the University of Cagliari, circular economy solutions from the sea are being studied, directly from the marble quarries of Orosei of Sardegna Marmi. The project is called "Poseidone" and its aim is to defend the sea from illegal trawling in protected and sensitive areas, which is causing damage to the posidonia seagrass and seabed. 

This millennial extraction activity in Sardinia has produced a considerable amount of waste, over 100 million cubic meters of natural building materials of excellent quality that remain unused. The use of materials from the local context and not alien offers the possibility to use them in sensitive areas for environmental protection. In Orosei, for example, for every cubic meter of marble extracted, 3 cubic meters of waste rock are produced. This waste is accumulated in a pile of over 3.5 million cubic meters, occupying an area of 16 hectares and with a height exceeding 20 meters, causing a significant landscape impact. 

The anti-trawling structures made in this way use the residues of marble cultivation in Sardinia, protecting the posidonia, preserving the underwater landscape, and providing excellent support to marine organisms that colonize the interstices and cavities of the rocks. These structures are a refuge for many marine species.  

"The advantages of local anti-trawling systems are also linked to the original lithology of the sea and the landscape context of the Gulf of Orosei, characterized by numerous boulders and limestone blocks resulting from the disintegration of the cliffs," explains Mauro Coni, project coordinator and representative of the Department of Civil, Environmental and Architecture Engineering. 

"Trawling is a highly harmful practice for marine ecosystems - explains Alessio Satta, president of the MEDSEA Foundation - The nets dragged along the seabed remove and indiscriminately destroy every form of life they encounter along their path: fish, invertebrates, corals, algae and, in particular, the precious Posidonia oceanica. These nets, like a bulldozer, flatten and scrape the seabed, erasing every refuge for fauna and compromising the delicate balance of marine ecosystems. The result is a desolate and devastated environment, where the original biological communities struggle to reestablish, requiring long times and significant efforts for their regeneration. It is crucial to put an end to this destructive practice in order to preserve marine biodiversity and ensure a sustainable future for our seas." 

Hence the idea of designing anti-trawling deterrents Made in Sardinia to use the waste rocks from the marble quarries. These rocks are equipped with slender flexible harpoons, specially designed to block the nets and release the cables of the boats in a controlled manner. Sardegna Marbles, thanks to its willingness to support the experimentation providing materials and logistics, has turned a quarry into a set for filming for a day, on the occasion of the visit of journalists from National Geographic who are working on a special. 

Pics: DICAAR / Università degli studi di Cagliari

Latest news