The protected area is extended from Capo Boi, in the western sector, to Punta Is Proceddus at North-East, including also the coast of two main islands, Cavoli and Serpentara, and several rocky islets and submerged reefs scattered all around the coast and main islands.
The coastal area around Capo Carbonara-Villasimius is mostly dominated by the presence of morphological highs, where granite is the main lithology, alternate with beaches and wide dune systems. At the north side of the Serpentara Island, the edge of the shelf presents a very sharp shape which is considered generated by the same N-S structures which bound the island. The western side of the Capo Carbonara-Capo Boi Gulf is characterized by a sharp edge generated by erosional surfaces covered by a considerably amount of sediments. Evidence of fossil shore lines (beach-rocks) have been studied and recognized along the Sarrabus Continental Shelf between 25 to 125 m below the sea level.
Overall, 42 marine habitats have been detected; 30 of them are considered priority habitats according to the SPA/BIO protocol; 20 coastal and wetland habitat types of conservation interest have been recorded along the coast and the main islands. Due to the high level of habitat heterogeneity and complexity, the area supports a high level of species diversity: over 700 marine species have been recorded; more than 180 species are considered important because they are endemic or listed in the main international conventions and directives; 49 of them are protected according to the SPA/BIO protocol. Not only benthic assemblages but also fish fauna is diverse, abundant and large sized, especially groupers (Epinephelus marginatus), corbs (Sciaena umbra), sparidae (Dentex dentex, Diplodus spp.), sphyraenidae (Sphyraena viridensis), mullidae (Mullus surmuletus). Moreover, the sightings of marine mammals (also Monachus monachus and Balaenoptera physalus) and reptiles (Caretta caretta) have been documented.
Possible threats and pressure are mostly:
Mechanical perturbations (anchoring, diving, artisanal and recreational fishing), on coralligenous assemblages and Posidonia meadows. The mechanical damages caused by divers are strictly localized in some sites with a very small extension relative to the surface of the MPA.
The impact of non-indigenous species, i.e. the chlorophyta Caulerpa racemosa var. cylindracea, very abundant in the whole area.
The construction and development of the tourist harbour “Marina di Villasimius” which caused the erosion of nearby beaches and Posidonia oceanica meadows; it also represents a potential source of water and sediment pollution due to the oil spill from recreational and commercial boats.
The high frequency of motor boats during the summer may discourage the presence of marine mammals (as a consequence of noise) and damage the sea turtle Caretta caretta.
Although the MPA includes merely marine surface, the coastal area immediately adjacent to the sea as well as the main islands, Cavoli and Serpentara, are home for a number of terrestrial habitat and species that are relevant for conservation purposes. Moreover, several endemic species have been recorded: 13 plants, 6 coleoptera, 1 reptile and 1 amphibian. Thus, the coastal areas are part of Special Protection Areas and Special Areas for Conservation of Natura 2000 Network. A small inland barrier lagoon (Notteri lagoon, about 34 ha) is adjacent to the MPA and it is separated to the sea by a small sandbar. It is the most important wetland spot for migratory birds among whom flamingos (Phoenicopterus ruber) are the most representative.
Some of the most productive and rich in diversity biocoenosis of the Mediterranean Sea are present in the MPA, with the prevalence of Cystoseira belts and biogenic constructions (Lithophyllum spp. and vermetids); these indicate the good status of water quality, as well as the extensive Posidonia oceanica meadows; the latter cover the 23% of the total area. Coralligenous assemblages and submerged caves are also widespread throughout the area.
The Municipality of Villasimius, Area Marina Protetta Capo Carbonara, firstname.lastname@example.org
Since 2009 all management activities have been included in the document EMAS comprising the mission and the objectives that the MPA should achieve in term of conservation. The management system EMAS and the activities of registration, accreditation and supervision of environmental verifiers EMAS are carried out, with annual audit and three-yearly certification, in accordance with ISO 9001:2008 (Certificate 9175 issued by IMQ-CSQ). There are also actions that overlap and will complement the activities of the approved management plans of Natura 2000 areas which include parts of the sea (e.g. monitoring of Posidonia oceanica meadows).
Capo Carbonara Marine Protected Area is located on the south-eastern coast of Sardinia; it is close to the municipality of Villasimius (42 kilometres south of the city of Cagliari). The area can be reached through two main routes, from Cagliari (SP 17) and Muravera (State Route 125). Cagliari, Sardinia.