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Recovery of Endangered Mollusc Patella Ferruginea Population by Artificial Inert Mobile Substrates in Mediterranean Sea (LIFE REMoPaF)
Date du début: 7 juil. 2016, Date de fin: 30 juin 2021 PROJET  TERMINÉ 

Background The Mediterranean ribbed limpet (Patella ferruginea) is endemic to the western Mediterranean Sea. Since the middle of the 20th Century, the range of the species has undergone a marked decline. Consequently, the species is included in Annex II of the SPAMI Convention, Appendix 2 of the Bern Convention, and in Annex IV of the EU Habitats Directive. It is also classified as “endangered” in the Spanish Catalogue of Endangered Species. As a result, it is the first invertebrate and, indeed, the first marine species, for which a national conservation strategy has been developed in Spain (MIMAM, 2008). In the Spanish coastal waters of the Iberian Peninsula, a ribbed limpet population is found only in the southernmost part. This is made up of small groups of individuals which, given their number and size, may not even constitute a core group. The mollusc is also found in small numbers in very specific enclaves of the coast of Corsica and Sardinia and off the coasts of small islands nearby. There are also small populations in Tunisia and on other small islands near the Strait of Sicily. However, the only current populations with a high number of individuals are all located on the North African coast, in particular at four locations: Chafarinas, Melilla and Ceuta (Spain) and the Habibas Islands (Algeria). For these reasons, and reflecting the objectives of the national strategy for its conservation in Spain, one of the key factors that could decrease the real risk of its going extinct in a short or medium term, is diversification of its geographical distribution through the establishment of viable reproductive specimens in a significant number of locations. Objectives The main objective of LIFE REMoPaF is to design, test and implement new techniques and methods for the management of the Mediterranean ribbed limpet, based on knowledge of the biology and ecology of the species, and on previous scientific experience. These trials are designed to enable repopulation of suitable existing habitats and the expansion of the species into new areas, in line with the national species conservation strategy. Specific objectives include: Moving 500 individuals (of high reproductive success rate) from a donor area with a large population, to a receiving area whose population is in regression; Using artificial inert mobile substrates (AIMS) to collect naturally fixed larvae, and to ensure the individual limpets can be moved without separation from their substrate; Developing the most suitable AIMS design to enable the effective translocation of individuals; Developing protocols for the management of the species and its habitat, and disseminating these to managing authorities and the scientific community; Developing and demonstrating an integrated management scheme for the species, involving public authorities, research groups and private companies, and covering the future addition of other stakeholders, such as the fishing industry, environmental organisations and divers; and Encouraging awareness of the species and behavioural changes to reduce the threat caused by human pressure. Expected results: The main expected results are as follows: An increase in Mediterranean ribbed limpet populations in the final AIMS locations thanks to the translocated specimens; Estimates of survival rates of the translocated limpets. These will be used as a standard reference for further initiatives after the LIFE project; A protocol for the management of the species and its application at Spanish and European level; and Development of dissemination materials to increase awareness of the species and its vulnerability, and thus to have an impact in reducing human pressure.


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