GIONHA (Governance and Integrated Observation of marine Natural Habitat)

GIONHA (Governance and Integrated Observation of marine Natural Habitat) is a maritime cross-border project regarding Italy and France and is financed by the European Community. 


Aim of the project is to raise public awareness regarding the protection of marine habitats, by emphasizing their resources. Cetaceans and other protected species, such as sea turtles, are focus of the project because they are important environmental indicators and also because there is a strong need to protect them in the Mediterranean Sea.

The study area coincides with the Marine Protected Area named "Pelagos Sanctuary" and covers about 90.000km2 in the north-west part of the Mediterranean Sea, including the Tuscan, Ligurian, Corsican and north Sardinian coastal areas.

The project originates from the cooperation among those regions overlooking the Tyrrhenian Sea. It involves the ARPAT, the Corsica office of environment, the Liguria region, the autonomous region of Sardinia and the Province of Livorno.

In this perspective, the Province of Livorno instructed the Pelagos cooperative to manage and coordinate the activities of the Scientific Program, the inherent species monitoring and investigation of anthropogenic impacts on coastal marine habitats. Pelagos involved Oceanomare Delphis and the Museum of Natural History "The Observatory", University of Florence subjects as research collaborators.


The project aims to deepen and enhance existing knowledge through evaluation of:

1. status and trend of cetacean populations in the Region of Tuscany;

2. impact on the populations under study of human activities (commercial fishing and commercial shipping and / or sports);

3 Status of the marine habitat of interest, in particular regarding the integrity of the seabed and the presence of anthropogenic waste.

The study area is characterized by a set of very different environments, including the Tuscan coast and the islands of his archipelago. It extends into the sea area between the bathymetry line of 200m and the Tuscan coast bordered by the mouth of the river Magra and the promontory of the Argentario Mount, covering a total of 4506 Mn2. The survey was conducted every month starting from February 2011 ending on November 2011. Consistent with the weather and sea conditions, particularly problematic in the winter months, it will guaranteed 48 outputs, carried out on board of a sailing vessel.