The monitoring of the marine protected area is governed by a specific article of the Ministerial Decree of 18/04/2014 on the regulation and organisation of the Secche della Meloria MPA: Article 31, which states: “the managing body monitors the environmental and socio-economic conditions of the marine protected area and the activities permitted within it, in accordance with the directives issued by the Ministry of the Environment, and on this basis, it draws up an annual report on the state of the marine protected area”.
The Regional Park Authority, in its capacity as the managing body of the Secche della Meloria marine protected area, in accordance with the Ministerial Decree of 21/10/2009, has carried out various monitoring activities of the environmental and socio-economic conditions of the marine area and the activities permitted within it during its first decade of management, in accordance with the directives issued by the Ministry for the Environment and the Protection of Land and Sea and with the regulations for the implementation and organisation of the MPA.
On the basis of these provisions, several annual and/or thematic reports on the status of the marine protected area have been drawn up, which can be found in the downloadable documents below. On the basis of the data thus acquired, the managing body has verified the activities permitted to date within the protected area, with checks on the adequacy of the provisions of the decree establishing it and the regulation governing the permitted activities, as well as the detailed regulations, zoning and protection regimes of the various areas, with respect to the requirements of environmental protection and socio-economic relations.
Among the most important and most significant final outputs of the environmental monitoring carried out in recent years are undoubtedly the two new thematic maps, which have analysed in detail the entire seabed across the whole surface area of the marine protected area, and have now provided us with a precise bathymetric profile and an up-to-date picture of the biocoenosis of the area.
Further important and innovative data that have emerged from recent monitoring are the reporting of the “ecosystem services” offered by the protected area and the calculation of the related “environmental accounting”, which provides us with real economic data and an estimate of the monetary value of the environmental services normally and spontaneously provided by a protected marine area such as the Secche della Meloria. The equivalent monetary value, based on current studies, is approximately 9.5 million euros per year (you can read more about this by consulting the report in the downloadable documents below). This value relates to a very preliminary research approach, using analysis and processing methodologies that are still highly experimental and innovative, and which will therefore still need to be verified, fine-tuned and updated during the monitoring and studies planned for the years to come.