Portofino Divers

Country Italy
Started 2010

Every year, more than fifty thousand divers enjoy the Mediterranean underwater life of the Portofino National Marine Reserve, making it one of the most popular and beautiful dive areas in Italy. Few places in the Mediterranean possess such a spectacular variety of living organisms; so, to preserve these treasures, in 1998, the area was designated a protected National Marine Reserve. Unfortunately, several dive sites still suffer from the impact of sport and professional fishing activities, and tons of discarded fishing gear cover and destroy precious underwater life. To remedy this, Portofino Divers, in collaboration with the headquarters of the Portofino National Marine Reserve, initiated a project to preserve the underwater life of more than five miles of protected area. The Project The Portofino clean-up project was initiated in March 2010 by Bruno Borelli, Susanna Lupino, and Niccolò Crespi—all active divers in the Portofino National Marine Reserve and very familiar with the dive conditions in this area. The main goals included: 1) cleaning the reefs in a range of zero to sixty meters, with special focus on the deeper walls between forty and sixty meters. 2) identifying dive sites that suffered most from fishing activities and—once cleaned—monitoring these areas to determine which type of fishing activity had the largest impact; new rules would then be enacted concerning sport fishing. 3) collecting pictures and video footage of all the clean-up dives as a means of informing the public and fishing community. Future Plans To date, several dive sites have been partially cleaned, but a lot of work remains to be done, especially in deeper waters. By continuing our work, we hope that the Marine Park Agency will impose stricter regulations on sport fishing, thereby preserving the underwater environment in Portofino National Marine Reserve. We believe that this project can serve as an example for other protected areas in the Mediterranean Sea. All GUE-trained technical divers are welcome to join us, Portofino Divers, on a clean-up day and become a part of our project! – See more at: http://www.ghostfishing.org/initiatives/portofino-divers/#sthash.Z98PwhJu.dpuf