RE.LIFE - Re-establishment of the Ribbed Limpet (Patella ferruginea) in Ligurian MPAs by Restocking and Controlled Reproduction

LIFE15 NAT/IT/000771

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Contact details:

Contact person: Giorgio FANCIULLI
Tel: +390185289649
Email: direttore@portofinoamp.it

Project description:


The geomorphological features of the Portofino MPA promontory favour the development of a rich and highly diversified benthic fauna and flora. The area hosts the most important shallow-water coral population of the Ligurian Sea and contains significant gorgonian populations. The fish community includes such species as the brown grouper, brown meagre, dentex and barracuda. The coastal areas are also home to the ribbed Mediterranean limpet (Patella ferruginea), an endemic gastropod mollusc from the western Mediterranean and one of the most endangered invertebrates of the entire basin.

The species is included in Annex II of the SPAMI Convention, along with Appendix 2 of the Bern Convention and Annex IV of the Habitats Directive. Furthermore, the ribbed Mediterranean limpet is a target species for evaluating good marine environmental status (GES) in line with the Italian Marine Strategy and EU Marine Strategy Framework Directive (MSFD). This species, however, has all but disappeared due to pollution and being harvested for food and bait by recreational fishermen.


The general objective of the RE.LIFE project is to reintroduce the ribbed Mediterranean limpet to the Portofino MPA and to other Ligurian MPAs (Bergeggi and Cinque Terre) included in four Natura 2000 network sites, as well as to raise awareness of the importance of conserving this species. To achieve this goal, the project will carry out the following actions:

  • Define a protocol for the transfer of limpets from high- to low-density areas and transfer specimens from the Tavolara MPA in northern Sardinia to Portofino; and
  • Set up limpet hatcheries and define a protocol for controlled reproduction and restocking. The hatcheries will help extend the repopulation process and its replication in other MPAs, as well as restoring the original population in Tavolara MPA through the transfer of reared individuals.
  • The project will contribute to the implementation of the MSFD as well as helping carry out the EU Biodiversity Strategy to 2020.

    Expected results: The project expects to achieve the following results:

  • Biodiversity recovery and restoration of ribbed Mediterranean limpet by re-establishing a local population starting with 100 specimens;
  • Reproduction and production of juveniles (some 6 000 larvae per year) to be introduced to the target areas for restocking;
  • Full recovery and new population development of ribbed Mediterranean limpet in the target area;
  • Restoration of the population translocated from Tavolara by introducing juveniles from controlled reproduction; and
  • Strengthened territorial promotion and reinforcement of the “clean sea” message.



Environmental issues addressed:


Species - Invertebrates


coastal area‚  population dynamics

Target EU Legislation

  • Nature protection and Biodiversity
  • COM(2011) 244 final “Our life insurance, our natural capital: an EU biodiversity strategy to 2020 ...
  • Marine environment and Coasts
  • Directive 2008/56 - Framework for community action in the field of marine environmental policy (M ...
  • Nature protection and Biodiversity
  • Bern Convention on the Conservation of European Wildlife and Natural Habitats (01.06.1982)
  • Directive 92/43 - Conservation of natural habitats and of wild fauna and flora- Habitats Directiv ...

Target species

 Patella ferruginea     

Natura 2000 sites

SCI IT1323271 Fondali Noli - Bergeggi
SCI IT1332674 Fondali Monte Portofino
SCI IT1344270 Fondali Punta Mesco - Rio Maggiore



Coordinator Consorzio di gestione dell'Area Marina Protetta di Portofino
Type of organisation Local authority
Description The Marine Protected Area (MPA) of Portofino was established in 1999 with the aim of protecting marine biodiversity and biological resources, and promoting a sustainable local economy. The managing consortium includes the municipalities of Camogli, Portofino, S. Margherita Ligure, the Province of Genoa and the University of Genoa. In 2005, Portofino MPA achieved Special Protected Area of Mediterranean Interest (SPAMI) status.
Partners Consorzio di Gestione dell’Area Marina Protetta di Tavolara – Punta Coda Cavallo, Italy Parco Nazionale delle Cinque Terre, Italy Università degli Studi di Genova, Italy Costa Edutainment S.P.A., Italy Softeco Sismat srl, Italy Comune di Bergeggi, Italy


Project reference LIFE15 NAT/IT/000771
Duration 01-OCT-2016 to 30-SEP -2020
Total budget 1,247,061.00 €
EU contribution 748,235.00 €
Project location Liguria(Italia) Sardegna(Italia)


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Project description   Environmental issues   Beneficiaries   Administrative data   Read more   Print   PDF version