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The Portofino Promontory is located in the eastern portion of Liguria (northern Italy). It is extended in Ligurian Sea for more than 3 kilometres, with a coastal development of about 15 kilometres. Promontory’s submerged cliffs host particularly rich and diversified fauna and flora. In particular, the benthic community is mainly characterised by Posidonia oceanica and coralligenous reefs, recognised as marine SICs for the European Community (Directives 43/1992 and 1967/2006, respectively) and important habitats for some threatened and endangered species. From 30 to 50 metres of depth the development of coralligenous on the rock of the southern side, full of nooks and crannies, has reached a size rarely seen in other areas: the continuous action of coralline algae and animals in calcareous skeleton has created over time a very complex environment dominated by large sea fans, sponges, stony corals and bryozoans. On sandy bottoms along the western and eastern slopes of the Promontory are present meadows of Posidonia oceanica, where many species find shelter and food.In 1999 this area was included in the Marine Protected Area (MAP) of Portofino, established in the same year. This choice is based not only on its elevated environmental value, underlined by the MPA’s institution, but also on its position and economic importance. Indeed, this area is situated in a very anthropised coast, characterized by multiple activities (nautical tourism, diving, fishing) and a large urban area.From 2005 the Marine Protected Area gained the status of SPAMI (Specially Protected Area of Mediterranean Interest), recognised by RAC/SPA office of UNEP in Tunis (UNEP, 2005).

 

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