We are over the moon that the breathtaking Aeolian Islands, located in Southern Italy, have been declared a Hope Spot by Mission Blue! This recognition aims at highlighting local efforts in marine conservation and igniting support to safeguard the area as a marine protected area.
The Aeolian Islands Preservation Fund led the way toward this achievement by supporting many local organisations in projects to protect the area by promoting a more sustainable approach to tourism and fishing. The main partner involved in marine protection projects is the Blue Marine Foundation.
In 2018 and 2019, Healthy Seas together with Ghost Diving carried out 2 big events in the Aeolian Islands that aimed at recovering ghost nets from the surrounding seabed, raising awareness in school children and very importantly connecting with local fishermen so that they will dispose their nets responsibly. A collection point for old nets was established on the island of Salina so that nylon nets can be regenerated into ECONYL® yarn.
The long term objective of the projects was to aid the process for the creation of a well-managed marine protected area (MPA) across the Aeolian archipelago by the Italian Government. Well-managed, well-sized, well-protected marine sanctuaries have proved to have a positive impact on the marine environment while also generating substantial economic benefits by extending the touristic season beyond the summer months and creating jobs, in addition to helping fish stocks replenish.
We are proud and excited by the new development and will continue to work with the AIPF in the months and years ahead to protect the fragile ecosystem of the Aeolian Islands.