scientific article | Proc 2nd Mediterr Sympo Conserv Corall
Canese S, Cattaneo-vietti R, Cau A, Corriero G, Costantini F, Giusti M, Priori C, Salvati E, Sandulli R, Santangelo G
The management of the red coral, Corallium rubrum (L.), is an international issue still lacking of an effective solution in the Mediterranean Sea. The main goal of this research was the evaluation of the ROV efficiency as a monitoring non-destructive tool in studies concerning the conservation status of the deep red coral populations (living under 50 m depth). Both Ligurian Sea and Tuscan Archipelago are considered among the most important Italian historical sites of the red coral professional harvesting. Fishing effort in these areas is now decreased (in Liguria is virtually ceased) due to the drastic reduction of colonies of commercial size and thanks to conservation laws. Today, the protection of this natural resource has been directed mainly to coastal, shallow-water populations (living between 20 and 40 m depth), while the deeper banks, the main target of professional harvesting by technical scuba divers, still need dedicated management plans. ROV explorations allowed the identification of several deep red coral banks: in the Ligurian Sea, 6 out of 12 explored sites (50%) and in the Tuscan Archipelago, 7 out of 13 explored sites (50%). The banks may be considered almost “pristine” only around Montecristo Island. In the Ligurian Sea, the only deep population in a good conservation status is that of the Maledetti Shoal, off the Bergeggi Island MPA.
Octocorallia (Soft Corals)
Remotely Operated Vehicle (ROV)