For the second year in a row, the Association Monégasque pour la Protection de la Nature (AMPN) chose THALASSA Marine research to carry on the field work to assess the effectiveness of the Marine Protected Area (MPA) of Larvotto in Monaco.
For an MPA to reach its objectives on fisheries management and biodiversity conservation, certain prerequisites need to be met (e.g. regulation fishing activities; effective surveillance). The Larvotto MPA has met these criteria: (1) it is a no-take zone, i.e., an area where all extraction activities are forbidden; (2) has a high level of surveillance, mainly thanks to local autorities (Division de Police Maritime et Aéroportuaire de Monaco, la Direction des Affaires Maritimes de Monaco) and the AMPN in its capacity as manager of the MPA.
This annual survey was dedicated to monitoring fish assemblages inside and outside MPA’s boundaries on two habitats: the Posidonia oceanica meadows and breakwaters. The survey is carried out through underwater visual censuses by scuba diving along transects adapted to the habitats studied. In addition to the sites inside the MPA, external sites were also surveyed (St-Jean-Cap-Ferrat, Beaulieu, Cap Martin and Menton) in order to assess whether the Larvotto MPA is meeting their conservation goals.
The data is currently being fully analysed, however, first results seem to corroborate past observations, i.e., a significant higher biomass inside the MPA when compared to outside. The presence of large individuals and high trophic level predators inside the MPA, greatly contribute to observed biomass values.
Photo by Stéphane JAMME (Aquanaute expertise)