Dalla superficie ai fondali: qual’è la situazione sul fondo del mare italiano? Lo abbiamo chiesto a Michela Angiolillo dell’ISPRA, che con Simone Canese ha fatto 900 ‘tuffi’ tra i 50 e i 500 metri con il ROV, in tutti i mari italiani (sul sito dell’ISPRA, il libro fotografico). Sotto il video, potete leggere l’abstract della sua presentazione al 6 International Marine Debris Conference,


Marine Debris in the deep Mediterranean Sea

presenting: Michela Angiolillo (Istituto Superiore per la Protezione e Ricerca Ambientale (ISPRA), Italy); authors: Michela Angiolillo (Istituto Superiore per la Protezione e Ricerca Ambientale (ISPRA), Italy), Simonepietro Canese (Istituto Superiore per la Protezione e Ricerca Ambientale (ISPRA))

Marine debris is a recognized global ecological concern. Increasing number of studies in the Mediterranean Sea are investigating litter distribution and its influence on deep habitats, but little is still known about the extent of the problem. Litter enters the seas from both land-based and marine sources, and can travel long distances before sinking. Anthropogenic and environmental factors influence litter distribution and can converge it in accumulation areas, such as canyons. Several quantitative assessments of debris present in the deep seafloor (50–2,000 m depth) were carried out and debris abundance ranged from 0 to >15,000 items km−2, depending on location. Plastics typically constitute the most abundant debris, due to the large use and the high resistance to degradation. Plastic related-fishing debris is typically common in hard habitat, subject to intense fishing effort and tradition. The high commercial fishing effort of trawling and long lines fleets mainly operating in the basin represents, in fact, one of the major threat for the rich Mediterranean deep-sea environments, characterized by great diversity and abundance of structuring organisms, such as corals, gorgonians and sponges. In particular, these long-lived species with slow-growth rates and recovery ability play the important ecological role of ecosystem engineers in deep marine environments, creating complex three-dimensional habitats enhancing high biodiversity and ecosystem functioning at every level. The widespread presence of debris is impacting these vulnerable marine ecosystems. Standardized approaches and specific conservation measures are now an international priority and are needed in order to protect unique deep-ecosystems that are progressively disappearing.