The general objectives of the Artificial Habitat Group are:
- a) To promote scientific cooperation among researchers involved in various issues regarding the Artificial Habitats (artificial reefs design, assessment of impacts / effects induced by the presence of artificial habitats in the aquatic ecosystem, socio-economic aspects related to the deployment of artificial reefs, reconversion of decommissioned structures into artificial reefs, etc.);
- b) to provide potential stakeholders (local authorities, fishermen’s associations, privates, etc.) with useful information to 1) formulate proposals for the construction of artificial reefs on the basis of scientific and technical criteria, and 2) develop appropriate monitoring plans to evaluate the effects induced by ARs and other man-made offshore structures on the marine ecosystem;
- c) to provide the competent Authorities with useful information to implement the current regulations on the construction of ARs and offshore structures for aquaculture and to prevent the degradation of the aquatic environment as a result of immersion of unsuitable materials and waste accumulation.
The specific objectives in the short and medium term are:
- to provide unambiguous definitions on Artificial Habitats;
- to update the inventory of existing ARs in Italy;
- to provide information on existing regulations at national and international level on the deployment of ARs;
- to review and uniform monitoring methodologies on the basis of the most recent scientific knowledge and technologies;
- to provide specific guidelines for the design and construction of ARs, taking into account the already existing guidelines at European level and the experiences of other Member States;
- to provide updated literature concerning artificial habitats in Italy and, where possible, in Europe.