Recreational Boating in Ligurian Marine Protected Areas (Italy): A Quantitative Evaluation for a Sustainable Management
Recreational boating is an important economic activity that can also represent a powerful source of interference for biological communities. The monitoring of the recreational boating in all Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) within the Liguria region was conducted in the 2010 summer season and it allowed to obtain information not provided by any official institution. The collaboration of geographically different MPAs in Liguria has led to the implementation of a monitoring framework of recreational boating, and this has made it possible to develop uniform management strategies for all the Ligurian marine parks. This study identifies the optimal number of boats for each MPAs, the number of boats that can anchor in the various parks without creating any impact on the biocenosis of merit, providing a first characterization of recreational boating in Liguria during the high touristic season and providing management recommendation to each MPAs. Generally, the Ligurian MPAs do not present critical situations, the number of boats in each MPA being below the optimal number, with the exception of Portofino MPA, where in the 12.5 % of monitored days more than 220 boats were counted and the mean density for weekend is 1.19 no boats/ha (4 times higher than weekday). The results confirm the dependence of the boats peaking from the holidays and the months of the summer, but also it highlights other factors that can contribute in the choice of the boaters.