Notably one of the regions with the most marine protected areas in Italy, Sicily is one of the major reservoirs of coastal and marine biodiversity. Spectacular coastlines and the large number of islands, islets and rocks surrounding the mainland are unique features of this region and very important ecosystems that must be protected. The SEF funds marine conservation initiatives including – but not restricted to – the following pressing issues:
– Reducing the impacts of the fishery industry, such as increasing surveillance and control on Illegal, Unreported and Unregulated (IUU) fishing, fostering small-scale fisheries, and encouraging responsible practices.
– Monitoring wildlife species populations, promoting scientific research, and increasing data collection on protected species and habitats.
– Contributing to a bigger and better enforced network of Marine Protected Areas across the region.
The SEF particularly welcomes projects engaging with communities and stakeholder groups (e.g. fishermen, schools, tourists, divers, surfers, sailors) adopting citizen science and community-based approaches.