Safeguarding of Venice Coastal Area ThroughHabitat®Blocks

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BOSCOLO, S., COPPA, S., FALCONI, A., MOTTA, E., FERRO, A and BARONI, A., 2011. Safeguarding of Venice Coastal Area Through Habitat® Habitat. In: Micallef, A. (ed.), MCRR3-2010 Conference Proceedings, Journal of Coastal Research, Special Issue, No. 61, pp. 269-273. Grosseto, Tuscany, Italy, ISSN 0749-0208.

The Gulf of Venice has got a characteristic morphology, for the presence of irregularly distributed rocky substrate in sandy and muddy bottoms. Scientifically these protuberances are called “beachrocks” or “reefs” if their origin is respectively clastic or biological. These solid outcrops are sea bottom obstacles and locally they are called “Tegnùe” because of their resistance to drag-net fishing.

In the “Second International Conference on the Management of Coastal Recreational Resources” in Gozo, Malta, 2006, we presented a research programme for the preservation of this natural environment against the distruction of fishery activity. The protection of the “Tegnùe”, in experimental way, has been achieved by submarine laying of 1630 concrete blocks, called Habitat®, at a depth of about 20 m, in the surroundings of 78 “Tegnùe” overall. These submerged structures purpose, in addition to keep the fishing boats away from the natural environment, to increase the bottom biodiversity and to enrich the local fish populations. So the artificial reefs can promote the presence and the reproduction of some market valuable fish species.

Now, after a four year study (2006 - 2009) the features of the artificial structures that we used in our project and the results of the analysis of the macrobenthos that has colonized the blocks surfaces during one year, are shown and discussed extensively.

Seasonal surveys were carried out to study the trend of species richness and the abundance of the pioneer colonizers of these artificial structures (above all Polychaetes, Molluscs and Crustaceans). During the whole research time, almost 250 species were recorded totally both in artificial and natural environments.

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