The MPA “Egadi Islands” includes the waters, seabed, and coastline surrounding the archipelago of the same name, located off the western coast of Sicily. With its 53,992 hectares, it is the largest marine reserve in Europe, coinciding with the SCI ITA010024 “Archipelago of marine sea beds of the Egadi Islands,” which is the largest marine SCI in the Mediterranean. The Marine Protected Area was established by Ministerial Decree on 21/12/1991 and has been managed by the Municipality of Favignana on behalf of the Ministry of the Environment, Land, and Sea since 2001. It is a member of Federparchi and the MEDPAN network. The MPA has a website (www.ampisoleegadi.it), an updated Facebook page, and an online authorization portal. Its institutional mission is the protection and improvement of the marine environment, environmental education, user awareness and information, research and monitoring, integrated coastal management, and the promotion of sustainable development, with particular reference to tourism.
The Regional Department of Mediterranean Fisheries carries out institutional tasks in support of fishing, aquaculture, and fish processing businesses. In this context, it promotes activities and collaborates with public and private bodies engaged in research, experimentation, and technological innovation, for the protection of the environment, marine biodiversity, and especially the fish stocks caught by the Sicilian fishing fleet. It promotes and supports plans for the management of artisanal coastal fishing, involving directly fishing enterprises and maritime operators, safeguarding and recovering fishery resources in territorial waters. It implements the Common Fisheries Policy, under Regulation (EU) No. 1380/2013, through the European Maritime and Fisheries Fund, supported by Regulation (EU) No. 508/2014.
Strongly desired by the fishermen of Ustica to protect their sea and resources, the Ustica Marine Reserve, the first marine protected area in Italy, was established in 1986 to protect exceptional biodiversity, safeguard marine resources, and regulate fishing. In 2012, the marine protected area returned to joint management between the Ministry of the Environment and the Municipality of Ustica.
The Marine Protected Area (MPA) covers 15,951 hectares, affecting about 15 km of the coast. The MPA is divided into three protection zones: Zone A of about 60 hectares, a no-take reserve zone, Zone B of about 8,000 hectares, a general reserve zone, and Zone C of about 8,000 hectares, a partial reserve zone. The Ustica MPA is also a Site of Community Interest (SCI) for its environmental value and the conservation of habitat and marine species of community interest (Directive 92/43/EEC of 2.05.1992).
The MPA protects the Posidonia oceanica meadow and its organisms, including the noble pen shell Pinna nobilis, and the pink shrimp, as species of environmental interest and resources for local fishing: a highly diverse fish fauna with many protected species, such as the loggerhead sea turtle Caretta, and various cetaceans (common dolphins and bottlenose dolphins).
The local government of Gharb was established in 1993 following the approval by the Maltese parliament of the Local Councils Act of 1993. The Council has various experiences in managing and participating in EU projects, including town twinning projects, intergenerational exchanges, rehabilitation and restoration programs for coasts and the marine environment. The Council initiated among the 68 local councils of Malta and Gozo the project that benefited from EU funds to regenerate the western coast and stop the discharge of wastewater into the sea, in collaboration with the Ministry for the Environment, Sustainable Development and Climate Change, Malta Resources Authority, and Corporation for Water and Sewage Services. Additionally, the Gharb Local Council has worked and participated with many other Authorities and Ministries on various projects with the aim of contributing to the sustainability of the island of Gozo, and is currently working on another project closely with the Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries.
The municipality of Ghajnsielem is located on the southeast coast of the island of Gozo, Malta, and includes the entire smaller island of Comino. The local government is responsible, among other things, for ensuring the collection and removal of all waste, the implementation, restoration, rehabilitation, maintenance, and redevelopment of public parks, gardens, and green areas. The locality has a population of 2,580 people and is home to the main port of Gozo, the port of Mġarr, which connects the island to nearby Malta through the Gozo Channel. The Council also encompasses the territory of the islands of Comino and Cominotto. Ghajnsielem hosts the Gozo campus of the Malta College of Arts and Sciences (MCAST). Within the territory falls the North-East MPA of 155.2 sq km, Malta’s largest MPA.
Ghajnsielem is developing and implementing “ECO GOZO,” a policy and strategy formulated by the Ministry for Gozo. The goal is to transform Gozo into a sustainable society, environmentally, socially, and economically. The Council is also a signatory of the Covenant of Mayors, which promotes comprehensive audits on energy saving and carbon footprint.