The Marine Reserve
of the Flegrean Islands
"The Kindom of Neptune"
Along its considerable
coastline, Italy has 27 "protected marine reserves." These
reserves aim at protecting marine and coastal flora and
fauna by restricting human activities in the area. The
reserves are generally divided into zones with
restrictions of varying severity applying to each. Most of
these protected reserves have been created by ministerial
decrees within the last 10 years. The Campania region of
Italy (of which Naples is the capital city) now has six
such reserves: the reserve at Punta Campanella (at the end
of the Sorrentine peninsula); the underwater park at Baia (on the western side of
the Bay of Pozzuoli, the bay across from Procida), the
underwater park of Gaiola
(on the Posillipo coast), the reserve of Santa Maria di
Castellabate (in the province of Salerno near Agropoli),
the reserve of the Infreschi and Masseta Coast (on the Cilento coast in the
province of Salerno, near the towns of Camerota and San
Giovani a Piro), and the reserve Regno di Nettuno
(Neptune's Kingdom) (comprising some of the shoreline and
coastal waters of the Flegrean Islands at the western end
of the Gulf of Naples (that is, Ischia, Procida and the
latter's smaller satellite island of Vivara.) (map,
above). This last may serve as an example of the attempts
being made to safeguard the marine environment.
Vivara, to the west of Procida
seven towns on the three islands, Ischia,
Procida and Vivara that have parts of their
municipal coastal areas included in the Regno di
Nettuno protected marine reserve. These towns are
Barano d'Ischia, Casamicciola Terme, Forio, Ischia, Lacco
Ameno, Serrara Fontana, and Procida. The first six are all
on Ischia. The protected land area of the entire marine
reserve is just over 52 square km (just over 20 sq.
miles); the protected waters cover an area of around 11
hectares (around 27 acres).
The reserve has five different zones of protection,
each with its own restrictions; they are designated A, B,
B.n.t., C and D, with zone A being the most restrictive.
Some general restrictions, however, apply to all of the
areas, regardless of zone: unless otherwise provided by
law, the various species of plant and animal life may not
be disturbed. There is no bathing, navigation, mooring,
docking, use of marine engines, or water skiing. Animal
and plant life may not be damaged or taken. Neither
archaeological nor geological samples may be taken or
disturbed. Dumping of any sort of toxic or polluting
substance onto the land or into the water is likewise
prohibited. Open fires may not be used.
Restrictions by zone:
The village of
Zone A (most restrictive) comprises
the coastal waters on the west coast of the island of
Vivara (that is, facing Ischia) and those near the Catena
shoal at the southern end of the Ischia channel. The only
activity permitted in those waters are rescue,
surveillance and maintenance operations.
- in Zone B
Zones B and B n.t. (less restrictive than A) - This
is the "general" reserve, including the waters in front of
eastern coast of the island of Procida, all of the waters
around the island of Vivara, the Ischia Bank (off the
south-eastern coast of Ischia), and the waters in front
of various designated points around the island of
Ischia. These areas permit bathing, snorkeling, scuba
diving, boats under sail, rowboats and, with some
restriction, motorized passenger access to cruise vessels,
mooring and anchoring at specified spots, local commercial
fishing, sport fishing and aquafarming (i.e., the
cultivation of fish, crustaceans, molluscs and aquatic
plants for commercial purposes. Zone B.n.t.
(standing for the English term "no-take) is part of zone
B, however, and here there are absolute prohibitions of
all professional or sport fishing, unauthorized sport
diving, and aquafarming.
Zone C is actually a partial reserve area. It
comprises the rest of the waters around the three islands
with the exception of the Procida channel and some waters
north of Point Imperatore on the island of Ischia. Most of
zone C is, thus, open to to sport boating, sport fishing
and mooring in authorized areas.
Zone D exists mainly to safeguard marine mammals
and is located for the most part in the so-called Cuma
Canyon, off the north-western coast of the island of
Ischia. Net and trawl fishing is permitted. Marine mammals
may be observed.
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