Skip to main content
Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary National Marine Sanctuaries Home Page National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Home Page

MBNMS International Activities and Collaborations: Italy

In 2004 Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary began a longstanding, diverse and productive partnership with Italy that continues on several fronts. ONMS assigned then-superintendent from MBNMS to work for six months from Genoa, Italy to study and learn how the Italian government managed their national system of marine protected areas (MPAs) and marine parks. In addition, his role was to assist his Italian counterparts in program areas of which the ONMS is considered an international expert.

image of Italian fisherman tending his net on a boat

Major ONMS/Italian Accomplishments

A growing number of accomplishments, actions, products and outcomes have derived from this bi-lateral international initiative:

  • Development of a formal working relationship with the Italian Ministry for the Environment and Territory, codified by a cooperative agreement with the Ministry (NOAA Agreem∫ent Code MOA-2005-015/6914 (987KB PDF*)). It was further extended by letter agreement in June 2010;
  • A detailed report (1.2MB PDF*)describing needs and opportunities for partnerships between Italy and ONMS;
  • MBNMS has hosted managers from two Italian MPAs who have come to the USA to learn how NOAA manages it's special marine places;
  • A delegation of Italian graduate students studying park management visited Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary, along with Yosemite National Park and Golden Gate National Recreation Area to learn from sanctuary managers;
  • NOAA has provided technical information to Italy to help develop environmental sensitivity indexes for the Italian coastline, focusing initially on two Italian MPAs.
  • Channel Islands National Marine Sanctuary leadership facilitated transfer of technical information to managers at Tavolara MPA on best practices to erradicate invasive rodents preying on seabird chicks and eggs.
  • Monterey, California has a very rich cultural history with Sicily, with thousands of residents born in or tracing direct family roots to communities adjacent to Sicilian marine protected areas. ONMS has helped facilitate delegations from Sicilian MPA communities visiting Monterey, creating a closer working relationship between Monterey's Sicilian fishing community and MBNMS.
  • A film, Il Mar di Joe/Sea of Joe, was funded and produced by Italian cultural organizations and agencies about the emigration of Italian fishermen to Monterey, California. Among other honors, this film won the 2010 BLUE Film Festival award for Best Feature Monterey Bay.
  • A chapter in a book about the world's sacred places, highlighting West Coast national marine sanctuaries, has been derived from this collaboration.
  • In May 2012, a delegation from Italy including the mayor of Favignana came to Monterey to sign a Sister Sanctuary Agreement between MBNMS and the Isole Egadi marine protected area. Visit the MBNMS Facebook page for images of the signing ceremony for the sister sanctuary agreement. This is the fourth sister sanctuary agreement within the National Marine Sanctuary System. Tos view the MOA between MBNMS and Isole Egadi MPA, click here (1.5MB PDF*).

Italy's "Sanctuaries" - called Marine Protected Areas

Italy uses several management programs, such as sanctuaries, archeological sites, and submerged parks, to protect the country's coastal waters. For a greater understanding of these programs and where they are located, click here.

Finestre Sottomarine (Windows Under the Sea)

To see the summary of some of the Italian marine protected areas, and how they relate to the US system of national marine sanctuaries, click here.

Genoa and the Coast

The coast of Genoa, Italy resembles that of Monterey, California more than any other coastal town of Italy. Similar to Monterey, Genoa also has an impressive aquarium highlighting local species. For more information on Genoa, click here.

MBNMS - Isole Egadi Sister Sanctuary Agreement

In May 2012, a delegation from Sicily, including the mayor of Favignana, came to Monterey to sign a Sister Sanctuary Agreement between Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary (MBNMS) and the Isole Egadi Marine Protected Area. This is the fourth international sister sanctuary agreement within the National Marine Sanctuary System.