Cinque Terre Marine Park

The Cinque Terre seen from Monterosso al Mare
The Cinque Terre seen from Monterosso al Mare Photo © Luca Baldassarre

Terraces in the sea

The sea and land of the Cinque Terre together, form a unique and suggestive landscape: mountains, that reach 815 meters, descend suddenly towards the sea, their heights range from 500 to 2,500 meters. So that the terraces downgrade to the underwater, reaching remarkable depths.

Along the enchanting coast cliffs and precipices alternate on the sea, bays, small beaches and ravines between the rocks, caves.

Sea beds, that downgrade rapidly, are rocky near the coastline and sandy and pebbled at their major depth. The presence of animal and vegetable creatures in the stretch of sea, that goes from the area of Punto Mesco to that of Punto Montenegro, is particularly rich and varied and influenced by the types of bottoms and depths.

The rocky walls, as well as the numerous banks and isolated sea rocks, are populated by different, very colored yellow, red, dark claret red, orange, pink “gorgonie”, till the white of the “Eunicella verucosa”, a white gorgonia rare in the Mediterranean, but widespread in the Atlantic Ocean.

Along the coast the oceanic “Posidonia” is also present, a plant due to its dense distribution forms “prairies”. The steep rocky sea bottoms of Punto Mesco and Capo Montenegro are also rich, even at low depths, in coral formations, including very rare black coral.

Punta Mesco and Capo Montenegro, that represent the sea areas of major value and variety and where one encounters the rare white “gorgonia” and very rare black coral, are subjected to major protection (zone A and zone B).

But there is another presence that makes the sea of the Cinque Terre even more unique: whales.
It’s no coincidence that this stretch of sea is inserted in the Sanctuary of the Cetaceo, an international protected area of upcoming institution. These are only some of the environmental characteristics that have motivated the foundation of a protected marine area of the Cinque Terre, to preserve the biodiversity and habitats, regulating the usage and activities that are carried out there.

Without penalizing the local population, from the protection of a marine area so particularly important and beautiful, on the contrary they can profit from the new job opportunities and well-being. A careful and correct evaluation of the places and resources allow in fact the promotion of riches, products and unrepeatable emotions and they offer that particular quality of Mediterranean life unique in the world, patrimony of today’s generation and those of the future.

Aims of the protected marine area

The protected marine area of the Cinque Terre was founded with a ministerial decree on December 12, 1997.

It comprises four communes:
Riomaggiore, Vernazza, Moneross al Mare, Levanto.

Underwater in the Cinque Terre

The establishment of the protected marine areas is provided by the two national standards: law n. 979 of December 31, 1982 (Provisions for the safeguarding of the sea) and law n. 394 of December 6, 1991 (Set of laws for protected areas).

The goals of a protected marine are like the Cinque Terre are:

  • environmental protection of the interested marine area.
  • safeguarding and evaluation of biological and geo-morphological resources in the area.
  • diffusion and popularisation of ecology and the biology of marine environments and the coastlines of the natural marine protected area and the peculiar environmental and geo-morphological characteristics of the area.
  • fulfilment of educational programs for the improvement of culture in the field of ecology and marine biology.
  • fulfilment of study and scientific research programs in the sectors of ecology, marine biology and environmental safeguarding, to assure systematic knowledge of the area.
  • promotion of socio-economic development compatible with the area’s naturally landscaped importance, and also privileging traditional local activities already present.
  • promotion of development compatible with the above-mentioned goals, for activities relative to the canalisation of the flow of tourists and guided visits, the determination of the relative discipline ought to provide specific facilities for collective means of transportation preferably managed by citizens residing in the communes of Vernazza, Monterosso al Mare and Levanto.

Fishing in the Cinque Terre

Safeguarded areas

In the zone A (integral preserve) the following is allowed:

  • Access to personnel of the managing agency for maintenance activity as well as scientific personnel for the development of rightly authorized research.
  • Guided visits even underwater, regulated by the managing agency, according to pre-established routes, adhering to the requirements of strict environmental protection.
  • Boat mooring for the above-mentioned activities.
  • Bathing, as disciplined by proper regulations according to the managing agency.
  • Access, but no mooring and anchorage, for small boats without motors, whose numbers will be regulated by the managing agency.

In zone A, instead, any form of sportive or professional fishing is forbidden.

In the zone B (general preserve) the following is allowed:

  • navigation of boats and pleasure boats for service activities and authorized scientific research.
  • mooring of private and public boats, in areas purposely designated by the managing agency.
  • private fishing with selective equipment that doesn’t damage sea bottoms (fixed nets, circumvention with boats within 10 meters of the coast) only for professional fishermen resident in the communes included in the natural protected marine area.
  • Fishing nets in Cinque Terre
  • private fishing with selective equipment that doesn’t damage sea bottoms (fixed nets, circumvention with boats within 10 meters of the coast) only for professional fishermen resident in the communes included in the natural protected marine area.
  • underwater immersions, compatible with the safeguarding of sea bottoms and marine organisms.
  • bathing
  • sportive fishing with fishing line and fixed rods.

In zone B it is, instead, forbidden to trawl fish as well as underwater fishing.

In zone C (partial preserve), professional, sportive and underwater fishing is regulated by the managing agency.