Portofino Seaweed Garden, Italy

Portofino are a society made up of passionate professionals of the sea and the outdoors, committed to promote: education, experiences, emotions, research and communication projects related to the local area, the environment and its sports, with the overall aim to prompt a change towards a better future for us and our planet.

Cystoseira forests are among the most important foundation species in the Mediterranean Sea. These complex habitats are essential for biodiversity, supporting food webs, sequestering large amounts of CO2, and being used as indicators of ecological quality. However, Mediterranean Cystoseira populations have been declining due to habitat destruction, human trampling and chemical pollution, which will likely intensify under climatic change. This project will involve marine outdoor enthusiasts in protecting, monitoring and restoring Cystoseira seaweed forests and their supporting habitat in Portofino Marine Protected Area. Using kayaks, StandUp Paddleboards and via snorkelling and coasteering, volunteers will help Outdoor Portofino to transplant, grow and monitor juvenile plants into an 89 hectare study site. Once restored, Cystoseira will immediately take back its role as ecosystem engineer, creating a 3D forest-like environment in which biodiversity can thrive. Training will be given on the importance of coastal ecosystems, and on transplanting and monitoring techniques, enhancing ocean literacy, public awareness and involvement in the area.

Many thanks to EOCA member VAUDE, which gave a donation to the funding of this project raised through an event during Earth Day 2022.

The Update

Learn more about the project, its plans and what it hopes to achieve in this video here.

Image: Portofino coastline