The issue of sustainable productive activities is of crucial relevance in recent scientific debate in terms of actual practices and development planning strategies. This project will study the relationship between Marine Protected Areas – marine zones safeguarded for their particular environmental value along with their historical and aesthetic significance – and the productive activities which use the sea as a natural resource, specifically fishing and tourism.
Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) (Law No. 979/1982 and 394/1991), where restrictive legislation is applicable, represent a field of implementation and experimentation aimed at integrating environmental protection with the enhancement of the sea as a natural resource by means of eco-sustainable activities. Specifically, they are marine environments of particular interest in terms of their natural, geomorphological, physical and biochemical characteristics with specific respect to the marine and coastal flora and fauna, and of scientific, ecological, cultural, educational and economic relevance and consequently must be protected and safeguarded. These areas may also have relevant historical, archeological, environmental and cultural value (Ministry of the Environment).
Initiating activities in line with existing MPA regulations brings advantages both in terms of marine environment protection and on the territorial level. One of the distinctive functions of MPAs is to promote research and study programmes for marine repopulation as well as educational projects to raise awareness, interest and understanding of the water environment. The topic of sustainable productive activities in areas subject to restrictions is closely related to the question of the cycle of fishing activities. Conflict often arises between the need for protection and anthropic pressure, traditional marine activities, bathing areas and illegal fishing. Considering that the sea is by nature an open system, the effectiveness of the protection programme depends on an integrated approach between totally protected zones, where no activities are permitted and the territorial context.
Against this background, the research project aims to design an innovative management model for Marine Protected Areas, which allows for conscious, integrated protection of the sea as a resource by means of an eco-sustainable utilization model for each MPA. The cycle of small-scale fishing can be included in an integrated system of traditional productive activities, sustainable infrastructures, cultural resources and environmental emergencies.