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The Capo Carbonara Marine Protected Area towards a New Zoning with Blue4All

A new co-management model to reorganise marine protected areas, benefiting from all the tools and knowledge provided by the Blue4All project will be soon implemented in Sardinia. Later last month, preliminary meetings for the establishment of a working group composed of operators, professionals, and institutions, coordinated by the Capo Carbonara Marine Protected Area and in collaboration with the MEDSEA Foundation, were held in the Capo Carbonara Marine Protected Area in Villasimius.


The group will deliberate on mapping’s updates and the "re-zoning," which entails the reorganization of the marine protected zones within the Capo Carbonara MPA; ultimately, the groups of operators and professionals will also experiment with some of the international tools provided by the Blue4All project. The journey, funded by the European HORIZON Europe Ocean Mission program, aims to strengthen the network and management of Marine Protected Areas in Europe - thanks to a network of 22 international partners and 25 among Marine Protected Areas and MPA networks, 12 informational sites, and 13 living labs, including that of the Capo Carbonara Marine Protected Area. 

In recent days, presentation meetings were held in the premises of the Municipality of Villasimius, with the presence, online and live, of institutions (ISPRA, Regional Department for Environmental Protection), control and surveillance bodies (Coast Guard and Forestry Corps), research entities (University of Cagliari, National Research Center - IAS CNR) and local operators (belonging to categories such as diving, passenger transport, rental and leasing, professional fishermen, and fish-tourism). 

The meetings, coordinated by the MEDSEA Foundation and the Capo Carbonara Marine Protected Area - both project partners -, were attended by the mayor of Villasimius, who is also the president of the MPA, Gianluca Dessì, the environmental councillor Sebastiano Ledda, the director of the MPA, Valeria Masala, and the MEDSEA responsible for sea activities and project coordinator, Francesca Frau. 

The "Capo Carbonara" Marine Protected Area, established in 1998 by the Ministry of the Environment decree (later amended in '99 and then wholly replaced by the Ministerial Decree of February 7, 2012), not only almost entirely coincides with the Site of Community Importance SIC (established under the Habitat Directive 92/43/EEC) but has also become an ASPIM Area (Specially Protected Area of Mediterranean Importance) under the Convention for the Protection of the Mediterranean Sea Against Pollution, better known as the "Barcelona Convention". "A long and articulated path, - recalls Dessì, president of the MPA and mayor of Villasimius - strongly desired by the community and that required a great commitment from everyone in the last two decades: from the Municipality, the Directorate, and the Professionals of the MPA". A common effort that "has progressively led to an improvement in the conservation status, detected by numerous studies - continues the mayor - and this has increased its attractiveness, generating even more wellbeing and wealth for everyone: today there are more than double the operators at sea. If today we can enjoy the opportunity of initiatives of this magnitude, as is Blue4All, it is precisely thanks to this common project that we want to bring into the future". 

During the meetings, the next project steps were discussed - including the establishment of a Restricted Stakeholder Engagement Group (SEG), composed of representatives of the institutions and private operators. The "SEG" "will play a fundamental role in the application, co-creation, and testing of tools aimed at optimising the MPAs and their networks - explains Valeria Masala, director of the MPA, who adds: "Blue4All is a great opportunity and comes after years of study and research that highlight the need to rethink the current zoning of the Marine Protected Area". 

Francesca Frau, marine biologist and coordinator of the Blue4All project for MEDSEA, provided a detailed overview of the ambitious Blue4All project during the meetings in Villasimius, highlighting the advantage of working in unison at all levels, research, governance, economic, institutional, to "bring the best possible output" for the future configuration of the MPA. Moreover, the project, distinguished by its broad scope, represents "a wide spectrum of geographical conditions (for example, location, size, habitat) and governance (for example, state of protection, degree of stakeholder involvement) that correspond to most of the MPAs in EU waters". 

Among the project outputs, the creation of a Blueprint Platform for MPAs, which will be accessible, intuitive, and equipped with effective, efficient, and resilient tools, a fundamental instrument to face current environmental challenges for those living and operating in Marine Protected Areas. 


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