Regno di Nettuno Marine Protected Area

In 1991, the Islands of Ischia, Vivara, and Procida were included in the list of potential Marine Areas of the Framework Law on Protected Areas as an integrated marine protected area named "Regno di Nettuno."
In 1999, the Ministry of the Environment commissioned the Zoological Station Anton Dohrn of Naples with the feasibility study (in which, as Delphis, we participated by drafting a report on pelagic fauna), which ended in 2001.
In 2001, the technical and political discussion began to define the perimeter and zoning of the area, which went on for seven years.
During this period, Delphis fought for the inclusion of the Cuma canyon system within the borders of the Marine Protected Area. Thanks to the support of a group of national and international associations and the approval of the Technical Secretariat of the Ministry, our proposal was partially accepted, and the coastal heads of the Cuma system were included in the perimeter of the MPA as zone D, dedicated to cetaceans.
The Regno di Nettuno Marine Protected Area was finally established with the Ministerial Decree of December 27, 2007, and the regulations made it effective in 2008.

The Marine Protected Area pursues the environmental protection of the sea surrounding the islands of Ischia Procida and Vivara in the Gulf of Naples. It covers an area of 11,256 hectares and is the largest MPA in Campania.

The zoning of the Regno di Nettuno, compared to other Italian Marine Protected Areas, includes two additional protection zones to the canonical zone A (of integral protection), zone B (of general reserve) and zone C (of partial reserve).
These additional areas are Zone B No Take (of special general reserve) and Zone D (of marine mammal protection).

Zone D is represented on the map by the northward extension, two miles wide and eight miles long, and corresponds to the coastal heads of the submarine canyon system called Cuma Canyon. and which makes the Regno di Nettuno a unique area in the Mediterranean.
This extension extends the MPA's protection to the wealth of cetological fauna (seven different species) found in the waters of Ischia.

The Regno di Nettuno is the only Italian Marine Protected Area to include in its borders an area for the protection of marine mammals.

Within Zone D, boating over 10 knots of speed and fishing with driftnets is prohibited. Industrial trawling and purse seine fishing must be authorized by the managing body. Cetacean observation is regulated by a specific code of conduct.

The entire area is also an economic and recreational resource, as it supports many commercial and recreational activities, which can affect and damage its ecosystems. Among these, tourism and fishing are the most evident factors, especially during the summer, when the frequency of maritime and recreational traffic generally increase.

Marine Protected Area Isole di Ventotene and S. Stefano

Identified as a potential marine area according to Law No. 979 of 1982, Art. 31, and the Framework Law on Protected Areas, the Isole di Ventotene and Santo Stefano Marine Protected Area was established by Decree December 12, 1997.
The Regulations for the organization of the Isole di Ventotene and Santo Stefano Marine Protected Area, currently in force, were approved by Decree on April 18, 2014.

The Marine Protected Area covers an area of 2700 hectares around the islands of Ventotene and S. Stefano. South of S. Stefano lies zone A of integral reserve in which protection is maximum: fishing and catching of any living species and the transit of boats are prohibited. In zone B of the general reserve, boating is allowed more than 500m from the coast, and guided tours and diving authorized by the Managing Authority are permitted. Partial reserve zone C is located northwest of the island of Ventotene to provide access to the harbor; navigation and fishing are allowed in it.

Seven species of cetaceans are present in the waters of Ventotene. Our association has documented the presence of these animals since 1991. As in the Ischia area, the most frequent species are bottlenose dolphin (Tursiops truncatus), striped dolphin (Stenella coeruleoalba), and sperm whale (Physeter macrocephalus).


In 2021, the MPA Kingdom of Neptune and the MPA Islands of Ventotene and S. Stefano signed a Memorandum of Understanding, n. 181 dated 01.02.2021, for Twinning between the two Marine Protected Areas. Among other things, the agreement between the two Marine Protected Areas aims to protect the underwater canyon of Cuma, critical habitat of several species of cetaceans and, in particular, sperm whales.
The Twinning is also aimed at the institution of a shared database of environmental data necessary for the improvement of management actions of the Marine Protected Areas concerned.