Calabria is the toe of Italy’s boot, and along the southern coast of Calabria lies a remarkable marine protected area called Capo Rizzuto. Given the size of Capo Rizzuto (55 square miles) its relatively long coastline (26 miles), three satellite offices and visitor center/aquarium, and well developed management programs, it is the marine protected area that has many of the same elements as a United States national marine sanctuary.
After original designation of Capo Rizzuto, the public helped to revise the management plan and boundaries for Zone A and B. The revised plan had more support from local fishermen and businesses, that have in turn expanded the opportunities for the marine protected area to meet its resource protection objectives. Today, 4% of the marine protected area is in Zone A, prohibiting most access and all forms of fishing. And, another 65% is in Zone B, which for Capo Rizzuto, restricts some access, for instance requiring diving to be guided, and only allows fishing by local-born commercial fishermen who get a permit from the marine protected area; sport fishing is allowed only with a fishing pole.
has a well developed outreach program that includes effective, large
roadside signs to ensure visitors understand what activities are
allowed in the various zones. It uses simple map handouts to also educate
the public. It has developed several offices that function as outreach
centers, the most popular of them open 7 days a week. Like other
marine protected areas in Italy, Capo Rizzuto has excellent, colorful
publications that are filled with professional photographs of the incredible,
diverse marine life in the marine protected area. An impressive publication
is the site’s well done magazine
publication, Calypso, where many of these photos are shown.
The site employs some sophisticated management tools. For instance, it has detailed habitat maps that were used in the new zoning process and the data are used in GIS tools for decision making. The site has also implemented a state of the art remote camera system allowing it the ability to monitor, 24/7/365, human uses in the restricted zones. Violators observed on camera are met by coast guard and port police often while still in the protected zones.
Rizzuto marine protected area also has extensive archaeological resources
both within its waters and on the coastal bluffs above the protected
areas. The ancient school of Pythagorus near Collone rests on a bluff
above one of the marine protected area’s
Zone As. At that site, an ancient Greek column marking the
end of the road, literally, is only several meters away from an eroding
bluff. Yet discovered in the waters below is the ancient port of
Collone, used by the Greeks and Romans over 2,000 years ago.