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Marine Nature Reserve "Egadi Islands" (EUAP0172)

Site type
ANP = Marine Protected Area

WDPA / EUAP Codes: 13170 EUAP0172

  • Former Provinces concerned: Trapani
  • Municipalities concerned: Favignana
  • Managing Body: 

Description and tourist information:

The Protected Marine Area (AMP) of the Egadi Islands, with an extension of 53.992 hectares, is the largest marine reserve in the Mediterranean. Located in front of the north-western coast of Sicily, it surrounds the Aegadian archipelago, including the islands of Favignana, Levanzo and Marettimo and the islets of Formica and Maraone. Established in 1991, since 2001 it has been managed, on behalf of the Ministry of the Environment, by the Municipality of Favignana. This is an area of ​​very high value from a naturalistic point of view: the AMP includes the prairie of Posidonia oceanica largest and best preserved in the Mediterranean (12.536 hectares). Posidonia, an internationally protected habitat, is considered the lung of the Mediterranean and plays a crucial role for the balance of the marine ecosystem: in addition to producing oxygen and absorbing CO2, helps to mitigate coastal erosion through the formation of bench, structures produced by the stranding of dead leaves due to storm surges; moreover, it hosts the juveniles of hundreds of species of organisms, constituting a real underwater nursery. In the seabed, coralligenous and precoralligenous environments abound and sidewalks at Vermetidi, delicate environments, born from the overbuilding of the shells of the mollusk Dendropoma petraeum, in association with calcareous algae, which form water surface formations along the coast. Numerous submerged and semi-submerged caves.

Thanks to this great diversity of habitats, the Egadi islands are an area of ​​very high biodiversity: among the protected animal species, the presence of the very rare monk seal, a symbol of the Mediterranean, already considered extinct in Italy, has recently been documented; also present the sea turtle Caretta caretta, various species of cetaceans (bottlenose dolphins, dolphins and sperm whales), some species of sharks and an important colony of the Stormbird, a marine bird endemic to the Mediterranean. The fish fauna is rich and varied. We mention, among the most famous species, the brown grouper, the sea bottom grouper, the corvina, the croaker, the sparidae, including the snapper and the pharaoh bream, and the amberjack.

In the AMP there are 77 underwater diving sites, superficial (but with presences of exceptional value), or deep, in caves, or on underwater archaeological sites (the Egadi Islands were the scene of the famous naval battle between Romans and Carthaginians, in an area located north-west of Levanzo). They are very popular snorkeling and Sea-watching driven. Many underwater itineraries in the protected marine area are described in detail on the website http://egadi.santateresa.enea.it.

The Marine Protected Area is divided into four zones (A, B, C and D) with different protection levels and with different access possibilities and usability limitations. It is absolutely advisable to inquire about the rules first; for information and authorization requests for activities to be carried out within the WAP: www.ampisoleegadi.it, info@ampisoleegadi.it; the WAP is also on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

The Marine Protected Area is a member of Federparchi, of the MedPan network, is twinned with the Monterey Bay Marine Sanctuary (California, USA) and constantly works in synergy with the major Italian environmental associations (Legambiente, WWF, Greenpeace, Marevivo, Lega Navale Italiana , CTS), as well as with local realities (Gulliver sailing school, Sercia Museum of Malacology). About 15 collaborators work on a permanent basis for the WAP, which increase to 45-50 during the summer, almost all young graduates from the community of the islands or the opposite coast. In recent years, the managing body has started a process of management, monitoring and control of the territory based on the participation and sharing of stakeholders locals. The mission Institutions of the WAP are the protection and enhancement of the marine environment, environmental education, the awareness and information of users, research and monitoring, the integrated management of the coastal strip and the promotion of sustainable development, with particular reference to the eco-compatibility of tourism. (Text source:: www.ampisoleegadi.it,)

Associated Natura 2000 sites 
 
ITA010002 Marettimo
ITA010003 Levanzo
ITA010004 Favignana Island
ITA010024 Seabed of the Egadi islands
ITA010027 Egadi archipelago - marine and terrestrial area

 

Card insertion: Ignazio Caloggero

Photos and videos: web

Information contributions: Ignazio Caloggero, Web 

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