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Research and development

We have been studying the cetaceans of the Sicilian seas for over a decade to safeguard protected areas and species in the Mediterranean. We conduct monitoring and trials at sea to support networks of local and international collaborations in favor of the conservation of the marine ecosystem, and traditional sustainable professions such as small-scale fishing. We use citizen science to assemble communities of Ambassadors of the Sea.

Projects

Dolphin watching and conservation in the Gulf of Catania (since 2014)

UMBRELLA PROGRAM THAT INTEGRATES RESEARCH, ECO-TOURISM AND DISSEMINATION.
Multi-year program designed to inform the community about the presence of cetaceans and to make known their conservation as species protected by international agreements and conventions. Data collection and census of dolphins living in the Gulf of Catania during dolphin watching ecotours and “Cetologist for one day” experieneces in which anyone can support the Marecamp observers in their monitoring.

Bottlenose dolphin-ID(since 2014)

RESEARCH PROJECT AND DATA SHARING.
Scientific research activity in ecology and conservation of cetaceans, with application of photo-identification method on individuals of bottlenose dolphin. The catalogue, still ongoing and which is regularly shared with other Mediterranean organizations, is currently made up of 70 specimens identified in the waters of eastern Sicily.

PROMOTION AND DISSEMINATION OF GOOD PRACTICES FOR THE CONSERVATION OF MARINE BIODIVERSITY (2023)

Activity included in the Interreg Italy-Malta “Sea Marvel - Save, Enhance, Admire Marine Versatile Life” Project of the Department of Agriculture, Food and Environment (Di3A) of the University of Catania.
Dissemination aimed at sailors encountered at the ports of eastern Sicily and sailing in the Gulf of Catania in order to increase knowledge and awareness in the local community on good practices in favor of sustainable actions for the environment. Data collection on vulnerable marine species and marine litter in the Gulf of Catania.

MONITORING OF THE GULF OF CATANIA (2021-2023)

ACTIVITY INCLUDED IN THE “SEA MARVEL - SAVE, ENHANCE, ADMIRE MARINE VERSATILE LIFE” PROJECT, INTERREG ITALY-MALTA OF THE DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE, FOOD AND ENVIRONMENT (DI3A) OF THE UNIVERSITY OF CATANIA.
Marine surveys for the study of marine biodiversity in the coastal areas of eastern Sicily, with investigations on the presence and distribution of vulnerable species, including cetaceans, sea turtles and large pelagic fish, and on the abundance of marine litter, in particular floating macroplastics in the Gulf of Catania and surrounding areas.

DEPREDATION - INTERACTION BETWEEN CETACEANS AND SMALL-SCALE FISHERIES IN THE MEDITERRANEAN(2019-2022)

RESEARCH PROJECT SUSTAINED BY THE MAVA FOUNDATION, IN COLLABORATION WITH CON LIFE, ACCOBAMS, GFCM-FAO, AND SPA/RAC.
Study on the fishing effort of the artisanal fleet and on the incidence of cases of interaction with cetaceans in Sicily, Andalusia and Malta. Creation of a network of "Floating laboratories" made up of fishing vessels. Trial of mitigation strategies “Mitigating dolphin depredation in Mediterranean fisheries Joining efforts for strengthening cetacean conservation and sustainable fisheries - An Acoustic Alert System to mitigate the effects of the Feeding in Net behavior by the Bottlenose dolphin”.

Fixed Line Transect Using Ferries As Platform Of Observation For Monitoring Mega And Macro Marine Fauna And Main Threats

Partner of the “Fixed Line Transect Mediterranean monitoring Network (FLT Med Net)” international project coordinated by ISPRA since 2007. Monitoring of mega and macro marine fauna (cetaceans, sea turtles, sea birds, and other marine macro fauna), maritime traffic, and floating marine litter in the Strait of Sicily along the Catania-Malta and Porto Empedocle-Lampedusa routes.

Latest publications and conferences

Tumino C., Raffa A., Peri I., Gregorietti M., Russi M., Arcangeli A., Vella J.G., Vella A., Monaco C. – Preliminary research results on the incidence of plastic marine litter in the Central Mediterranean Sea. Poster n. 120. 34th Annual Conference of the European Cetacean Society. O Grove, Spain.
18 April 2023.

Saldutti I., Monaco C., Raffa A., Garofalo D., Cardile V. – The Gulf of Catania: an eligible zone as Special Protected Area. Poster n. 140. 34th Annual Conference of the European Cetacean Society. O Grove, Spain. 18 April 2023.

Raffa A., Garofalo D., Floridia S., Monaco C. – An Acoustic Alert System to mitigate dolphin
depredation of fishing nets. Poster n. 53. 34th Annual Conference of the European Cetacean
Society. O Grove, Spain. 18 April 2023.

Gregorietti M., Russi M., Pecoraro M., Arcangeli A., Monaco C., Raffa A., Tumino C., Giarrusso E.,
Vella J., Vella A., Sarà G. – Preliminary results of a cetacean small scale monitoring around Western Sicily (Central Mediterranean Sea). Poster n. 23. 34th Annual Conference of the European Cetacean Society. O Grove, Spain. 18 April 2023.

Gnone G., Bellingeri M., Airoldi S., Gonzalvo J., ..., Monaco C., ... Azzellino, A. – Cetaceans in the Mediterranean Sea: Encounter Rate, Dominant Species, and Diversity Hotspots. Diversity, 2023, 15(3), 321.

Blasi M.F., Alessi J., Melodia C...., Monaco C., Raffa A., et al. - Bottlenose dolphins' fin marks comparison highlights limited movements and anthropogenic threats in the waters around Sicily (Italy, Central Mediterranean Sea). Hydrobiologia 850, 627–643, 2023.https://doi.org/10.1007/s10750-022-05108-z

Monaco C. (2022). An Acoustic Alert System to mitigate the effects of the Feeding in Net behaviour by the Bottlenose dolphin. MoU ACCOBAMS-Marecamp No. 07/2021/LB 6411, 08/2021/LB 6411, 04/2022/LB 6411. 47pp.

Terranova F., Raffa A., Floridia S., Monaco C., Favaro L. – Vocal Behaviour of a Bottlenose Dolphin Pod During a Deadly Bycatch Event in the Gulf of Catania, Ionian Sea. Journal of Marine Science and Engineering. 2022; 10(5):616. https://doi.org/10.3390/jmse10050616

Monaco C. – Distribution of small-scale fisheries and correspondences fishing gears-target species in eastern Sicily. Scientific Advisory Committee on Fisheries (SAC). Working Group on Small-Scale Fisheries (WGSSF). FAO-GFCM, 10 marzo 2022 (online).

Ligato V., Floridia S., Raffa A., Garofalo D., Monaco C. – Gli effetti negativi delle attività antropiche sui cetacei in Sicilia orientale. Workshop monitoraggio e tutela della biodiversità in Sicilia. eConscience-Mipat. 17-19 dicembre, Acireale.

Leanza A., Petralia C., Raffa A., Floridia S., Garofalo D., Monaco C. – Osservazione e conservazione dei cetacei nel golfo di Catania: un progetto che sposa ricerca, divulgazione e citizen science. Workshop monitoraggio e tutela della biodiversità in Sicilia. eConscience-Mipat. 17-19 dicembre, Acireale.

Belmont J., Cavallé M., Monaco C. – Mitigating dolphin depredation in Mediterranean fisheries. The Depredation 2 project. Sustainable fishing. MAVA partnership project. 3 marzo 2021 (online).

Monaco C. – The Floating Laboratories Initiative. Interaction between cetaceans and small-scale fisheries in Sicily, Italy. Workshop “Mitigating dolphin depredation in Mediterranean fisheries. Joining efforts for strengthening cetacean conservation and sustainable fisheries”. 16-18 novembre 2020 (online).

Monaco C., Aguilera R., Camiñas J.A., Laspina M., Molina M., Said A., Terribile K. – Interactions between cetaceans and small-scale fisheries in the Mediterranean. Conclusive Report. 2020; Published by Low Impact Fishers of Europe.

Monaco C. – Interaction between cetaceans and small-scale fisheries in the Mediterranean. The case of the Central Mediterranean, Sicily, Italy. 2020; Published by Low Impact Fishers of Europe.

Tepsich P., Schettino I., Atzori F., Azzolin M., Campana I., Carosso L., et al. – Trends in summer presence of fin whales in the Western Mediterranean Sea Region: new insights from a long-term monitoring program. PeerJ, 8, e10544, 2020.

Garofalo G., Monaco C. – La Settimana del Mare. Blue Sea Land 2020. Expo dei distretti agroalimentari del Mediterraneo, dell’Africa e del Medioriente. Mazara del Vallo e web meeting, 22- 25 ottobre 2020.

Tiralongo F., Monaco C., De Maddalena A. – Report on a great white shark Carcharodon carcharias (Linnaeus, 1758) observed off Lampedusa, Italy. Annales, Series historia naturalis. In Annales: Series Historia Naturalis (Vol. 30, No. 2, pp. 181-186). Scientific and Research Center of  the Republic of Slovenia, 2020.

Monaco C. – Revive, Renew and Relaunch Aktea, European Network of Women in Fisheries and Aquaculture: Behind each boat there is a woman, a family and a community. Institute for Cultural Affairs (ICA), Brussels, 24 26/02/2020.

Monaco C., Peri I. – Cetacean interaction with small-scale coastal fisheries in the Mediterranean –Managing highly mobile species across Mediterranean MPAs. MedPan Network Regional experience-sharing workshop. 12-14/11/2019, Akyaka, Turkey.

Monaco C., Susini C., Pellegrino G. – Updating a photo-id catalog of bottlenose dolphin off Catania. World Marine Mammal Conference, Barcelona, December 2019.

Melodia C., Giacoma C., Azzolin M., Notarbartolo di Sciara G., Panigada S., ..., Monaco C., Blasi M.F. – Photo-identification and movements of bottlenose dolphins in the waters around Sicily (Italy). World Marine Mammal Conference, Barcelona, December 2019. In press.

Tepsich P., Cominelli S., Schettino I., Moulins A., ..., Monaco C., Arcangeli A. – Fin whale trends in the Mediterranean Sea from a long-term monitoring program. World Marine Mammal Conference, Barcelona, December 2019.

Monaco C., Peri I. – I laboratori galleggianti: pescatori artigianali e biologi marini insieme per un progetto pilota sull’interazione pesca cetacei – La crescita blu del golfo di Catania. Blue Sea LandExpo dei distretti agroalimentari del Mediterraneo, dell’Africa e del Medioriente. Mazara del Vallo, 17-20 ottobre 2019.

Monaco C. – Interazione tra delfini e piccola pesca costiera artigianale in Sicilia orientale. Strategie di mitigazione e prospettive dall’agricoltura al mare – Problematiche e gestione dell’ambiente marino e della pesca siciliana. Strategie a lungo termine per sostenere una crescita sostenibile nel settore marino-costiero. 28° Rassegna del Mare “Mare Amico”. Terrasini, 3-6 ottobre 2019.

Monaco C., Cavallé M., Peri I. – Preliminary study on interaction between dolphins and small-scale fisheries in Sicily: learning mitigation strategies from agriculture. Quality- Access to Success, 2019, 20(S2): 400-407.

Lapiccirella D., Monaco C., Pessani D., Favaro L. – Interaction between Striped dolphins (Stenella coeruleoalba) and squid artisanal fishery in the gulf of Catania. Biol. Mar. Mediterr., 2018, 25 (1):288-289.

Arcangeli A., Aissi M., Atzori F., Azzolin M., Buoninsegni J., Campana I., Carosso L., Castelli A., Cerri F., David L., Di Meglio N., Frau F., Giacoletti A., Giacoma C., Gregoretti M., Lippi S., Luperini C., Mazzucato V., Monaco C., Moulins A., Nestola A., Paraboschi M., Pellegrino G., Ramazio M., Marine Roul., Sarà G., Tepsich P., Tringali L.M. – Looking for Risso’s dolphins in the Mediterranean Sea. 32th Annual Conference of the European Cetacean Society. Marine Conservation. Forging Effective Strategic Partnerships. La Spezia. April 2018.

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