EASME/EMFF/2017/ – Sustainable Blue Economy

Co-funded by the EMFF programme of the European Union

Porto Cesareo MPA brief description

The Porto Cesareo MPA is a marine protected area of the Puglia region established in 1997 with the Decree of 12 December 1997 of the Italian Ministry of the Environment. It occupies an area of 16,654 ha in the province of Lecce. It extends up to 7 kilometres from the coast and with its 16,654 hectares of protected marine surface, it is the third largest in Italy. The stretch of Ionian coast that delimits the Porto Cesareo AMP is characterized by a very varied coastline and jagged contours, limited to the north by Punta Prosciutto and to the south by Torre dell’ Inserraglio. From Punta Prosciutto to Porto Cesareo the coast is divided into sandy coves alternating with stretches of low cliffs with outcrops of groundwater and the presence of basins behind the dunes. From Punta Prosciutto to Torre Lapillo extends the coast of “Lido degli Angeli” characterized by dunes up to 6/7 meters high and light sand. 


The MPA is divided into three areas with different degrees of protection, which correspond to different degrees of usability: 

  • Zone A (Integral Reserve Zone) is the heart of the Reserve, where any type of activity is prohibited except for scientific research.
  • Zone B (Partial Reserve Zone) is a portion of MPA in which professional fishing with selective gear is allowed with prior authorization from the managing body. In Zone B, bathing is also allowed, underwater activities compatible with the protection of the natural environment, access, and navigation of authorized boats at a speed of less than 10 knots.
  • Zone C (General Reserve Zone) acts as a “buffer” between the area subject to constraints and the area outside the MPA. In Zone C all the activities permitted in Zone B are allowed, plus anchoring to special structures, and sport fishing, apart from spearfishing. 


It is, therefore, within the “B” and “C” zones, which also make up almost all of the Reserve, that the protected sea assumes the characteristics of a widely usable resource, while respecting an overall sustainable development project.