Southern Italy projects into the Mediterranean Sea, a productive area used by a number of seabird species. The Italian marine environment supports a number of rare species including the Yelkouan Shearwater (VU) and Audouin's Gull (NT). Other priority species in Italy include the Meditteranean subspecies of European Shag (LC) and the Little Tern (LC). BirdLife's Italian partner LIPU has been relatively active in identifying coastal IBAs and offshore areas over the past five years. In late 2007 LIPU assisted in the trialing of the BirdLife Seabird Foraging Range Database and the results and feedback from this process have helped form the basis of the guidelines being produced for the foraging radii approach. In 2008 the Italian Ministry for the Environment funded some preliminary marine IBA research by LIPU at the Cory's Shearwater colony at Linosa and also carried out some boat-based surveys. In 2009 LIPU then used internal funds to continue surveys of the Cory's Shearwater colony by using GPS-logger and telemetry activities were also carried out on the Cory's shearwater colony at Tremiti islands. In 2010 LIPU also carried out a GPS tracking survey study to identify the foraging areas used by Sandwhich Terns which breed in the North Adriatic Sea. However there are no plans to complete a national IBA inventory following the cessation of government funding.
Threats to Italian Seabirds include:
o Pollution, especially oil and chemicals from shipping
o Habitat loss
o Completion of marine IBA identification
o Extend research to marine areas of neighbouring European and Noth-African countries, used by birds breeding in Italian IBAs
o Complete marine IBA designation as SPAs, enhance liason with the Regional Governments to aid with the designation of SPAs
o Further survey the distribution of seabirds at sea including: trying to get boat based observers on regular routes, beached-bird surveys, monitoring coastal hotspots, concentrate tracking of Audouin's Gull on Tyrrhenian Sea
o Obtain data and develop a project on fisheries activities (epi-pelagic species) and bycatch
o Develop management plans to tackle light pollution in coastal MPAs
Government's support/relevant policy
The designation of coastal marine IBAs as SPAs is already quite advanced, however for some areas a more accurate definition of borders may be needed. Designation of marine SPAS in Italy lies with individual regions which makes it difficult to produce the necessary research and designations Please see policy tab for list of agreements that this country is party to.
Petrels and shearwaters
Gulls and terns
Ducks, geese and swans
o LIPU. 2002. Sviluppo di un sistema nazionale delle ZPS sulla base della rete delle IBA (Important Bird Areas). Relazione finale. Ministero dell'Ambiente e della Tutela del Territorio-Direzione Conservazione della Natura, LIPU-BirdLife Italia, Parma.
o LIPU. 2009. Dalla terra al mare. Studio preliminare per l'individuazione delle IBA (Important Bird Areas) in ambiente marino. LIPU-BirdLife Italia, Parma.
BirdLife International (2014) Country profile: Italy. Available from: http://www.birdlife.org/datazone/country/italy. Checked: 2014-09-20