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Summary of Site Visits to Some of Italy's Marine Protected Areas: Peninsola di Sinis

map of Peninsola di Sinis
Map of Penisola di Sinis marine protected area on west coast of Sardinia, Italy.

Penisola di Sinis—Isola di Mal de Ventre

The second largest marine protected area in Italy, designated in 1999, combines the peninsula of Sinis and the island of "Mal de Ventre", or bad wind. The city of Cabras has taken an immediate interest in Peninsula of Sinis since it received management responsibility four years ago. Under the leadership of a member of the city council, the city successfully convinced the Ministry of Environment to recast the original site boundaries and the boundaries of the zones. This has led to an incredible amount of political, logistical and financial support for the marine protected area by the City of Cabras.

The natural beauty and cultural human history of the protected area are always evident as is the support the City of Cabras. The city built a new building close to the ocean that provides office and support facilities for the marine protected area. Cabras has also helped develop an app. 1,500 square foot visitor center near the historical remains of the Greek city of Tharros, now a popular tourist destination. They have also supported purchase of a bluff-top building within 100 meters of that visitor center to support offices and possibly an aquarium. Further north on remote coastal beaches, the city has given the marine protected area authority to operate and manage a barracks/residence and an education center, which have many opportunities to help with school outreach, conferences, and research teams.

marine plant Posidonia
The important marine plant in the Mediterranean, Posidonia, is found in some places in Peninsula of Sinis marine protected area.

In addition to many facility projects to manage, the marine protected area conducts several critical marine research projects to support management priorities. For instance, they have been collaborating on a research project to track lobster movement, inside and outside of the no fishing zones in the marine protected area. They also have several projects to evaluate environmentally sustainable means to protect coastal dunes and coastal bluffs from eroding. Numerous Greek and Phoenician ruins, including burial sites, line the coast of the marine protected area. Also, it receives tens of thousands of visitors daily during the summer, placing beaches and beach dune communities at extreme risk.

The marine protected areas in Italy all seem to share in common with their U.S. counterparts a basic need for permanent staff. The Peninsula of Sinis marine protected area has only 5 permanent staff, and an additional 25 part-time staff and contractors work on various, discrete projects.

Peninsula of Sinis is on the west coast of Sardinia. It is 99 square miles, has 15 miles of coastline, much of it stunning beaches, and relatively small amount designated as Zone A, no access or fishing (2 square miles) or as Zone B, limited access and fishing (4 square miles).

For more information about Peninsula of Sinis marine protected area, go to:

Peninsula of Sinis
Peninsula of Sinis, with the old town of Tharros along narrow spit.
URL:    Reviewed: November 20, 2017
Web Site Owner: National Ocean Service

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