Fish, environment boom at Italy's Portofino park

Fri Jun 5, 2009 10:44am EDT
 
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By Marie-Louise Gumuchian

PORTOFINO, Italy (Reuters Life!) - The chic Italian seaside resort of Portofino may be known for its postcard-perfect views and celebrities, but deep underwater, the rich sea life is also claiming a name of its own.

The sea off the Ligurian coast hosts an underwater treasure trove of moray eels, grouper fish, bream, mullet, red starfish, hundreds of yellow cluster sea "daisies" and red coral adding bursts of color against dark green algae-covered rocks.

In the last 10 years, since the Protected Marine Area of Portofino was founded, fish populations have grown as some activities became regulated or even banned, local officials, environmentalists, fishermen and divers said.

Although they said it was difficult to quantify, all noted a difference.

"Some fish that were not there before have now reappeared," said Giorgio Fanciulli, director of the marine protected area.

"For those that were caught through fishing when diving, something that's now banned, it means they have come back in significant numbers."

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The 374-hectare (924.2 acres) protected area runs from the town of Camogli around the promontory of Portofino, where colorful houses huddle around its little harbor.   Continued...

 
<p>A general view of the northern Italian coastal town of Portofino June 15, 2007. REUTERS/Dario Pignatelli</p>