Marine Protected Area Regno di Nettuno
In 1991 the islands of Ischia, Vivara and Procida were included in the list of marine areas of the law on protected areas, as an integrated Marine Protected Area called “Regno di Nettuno”.
In 1999, the Ministry of the Environment assigned to the Anton Dohrn Zoological Station of Naples the feasibility study (in which, as Delphis, we participated by drawing up a report on pelagic fauna), which was completed in 2001.
In 2001, the technical and political discussion began to define the perimeter and zonation of the area, which went on for 7 years.
During this period, Delphis fought for the inclusion of the submarine canyon system of Cuma within the perimeter of the Marine Protected Area (MPA). Thanks to the support of a group of national and international associations and to the competence of the Technical Secretariat of the Ministry, our proposal was partially accepted and the coastal heads of the canyon system of Cuma were included in the perimeter of the MPA as zone D, dedicated to cetaceans.
The Marine Protected Area Regno di Nettuno was finally established with the Ministry Decree of 27 December 2007 and the regulation made it effective in 2008.
The zonation of the MPA Regno di Nettuno, compared to other Italian MPAs, includes two additional protection zones to the classic zone A (full protection), zone B (general reserve) and zone C (partial reserve), identified in zones B n.t. (special general reserve) “No Take” and zone D (protection of marine mammals).
Winter Monitoring 2013-2014
Between October 2014 and April 2015, the first winter campaign in the waters of Ischia took place, thanks to a Research Agreement stipulated with the Marine Protected Area Regno di Nettuno.
In agreement with the MPA, a specific region, in which to concentrate the survey activities, was defined. The monitoring covered all the protection zones of the MPA (including zone D). The campaign, which required a minimum of 8 trips per month, took place in the NW-SW-SW quadrants of the island of Ischia.
The surveys of the winter campaign confirmed the presence in the waters of Ischia of four species of cetaceans and in particular of two threatened species in the Mediterranean, common dolphin and sperm whale.
Noteworthy was the observation of a rare non-antagonistic interaction between 3 adult bottlenose dolphins and a social unit of the sperm whale. Equally important was the sighting of common dolphin in an area where the species had never been observed since 1997. The sighting started near the Ischia Bank and continued in the waters of the Magnaghi and Dohrn submarine canyons.