The Italian Almanac
Italian News - August 12
Italy's seas are in better shape than ever before. Speaking as the summer holiday season was getting into full swing, Folco Quilici, head of the Sea Research Institute (ICRAM), said the health of Italian waters had improved dramatically in recent years.
"Over the last two to three years, Italy's seas have gone through a period of enormous improvement," he said. "The protection in some areas has allowed for the waters to be repopulated at a speed that no one could have imagined. "This has produced excellent results, even outside the protected areas." According to Quilici, who is also a renowned documentary filmmaker on marine life, coral, groupers and neptunegrass, a kind of underwater sea grass, had all revived and were once again flourishing.
"I started diving in 1948 and when people say that the sea was beautiful back then I can say, 'yes, that's true, but there were very few fish'," he explained. "This is because at that time, explosives were used for fishing. "Then, there was a gradual improvement from the mid-50s through to the late 1980s, at which point the situation suddenly deteriorated rapidly. This was due to the ravages of tourism, uncontrolled fishing and pollution." Quilici attributes much of the recent improvement to the introduction of legislation, particularly the Italian government's determination to establish protected marine reserves.
Italy's growing number of marine reserves are just one of the ways in which the government has sought to boost the quality of the country's waters. It has launched numerous programs aimed at cleaning up the Mediterranean, which is a vital national resource in terms of both tourism and fishing. One of the most effective developments has been legislation introduced in 2003, which established strict regulations for waste-disposal and hefty fines for vessels nabbed dumping trash at sea.