CONCEPTU MARIS – CONservation of CEtaceans and Pelagic sea TUrtles in Med: Managing Actions for their Recovery In Sustainability

The Mediterranean Sea is undergoing severe changes driven by increasing anthropogenic pressures. CEtaceans and Pelagic sea TUrtles (CEPTU hereafter) are among the most important charismatic species in the Mediterranean Sea, and crucial bioindicators of marine health conditions. However, there is a data deficiency for most taxa, which is mainly due to the fact that CEPTU species spend the majority of their life in remote offshore areas that are the most difficult to monitor because of their extent. With their offshore movements, they are exposed to multiple anthropogenic stressors, such as maritime traffic causing pollution, underwater noise, disturbance and marine litter exposing the species to a higher risk of entanglement, ingestion or toxicological effects. Entanglement in fishing-related gears also contributes to increased risks linked to the pressure of fishing in pelagic areas.

Funded by
  • European Commission LIFE Programme

Coordinating organization
  • ISPRA - Italian National Institute for Environmental Protection and Research

CMCC Scientific Leader
CMCC Project manager

General aims

The LIFE CONCEPTU MARIS project aims at improving the conservation status of species of cetaceans and pelagic sea turtles (CEPTU), listed in Annex II-IV of the EU Habitats Directive, in the Mediterranean Sea. It will do this by filling the information gap on spatiotemporal ecological needs, to identify important offshore marine sites, and by establishing an internationally-agreed approach to support and further develop the surveillance of CEPTU conservation status and to assess the impact of human activities.

CMCC role

CMCC will:

  • provide satellite & model-based products from the CMEMS service to the ferry route transects (SST, salinity, currents and Chl-a). Data will be downloaded, processed, averaged, formatted, and visualized in accordance with the project needs;
  • use a model that represents two-dimensional Lagrangian transport of floating debris in the Mediterranean Sea as a tool to interpret the project-based results on ML monitoring and to map marine litter hazards;
  • implement the project Decision Support System with partner UNIPA;
  • provide content to the communication material;
  • contribute to the networking activities and citizens’ involvement and training with resources and material;
  • participate to the Advisory Board and plan the best use of project results and outputs


The project will develop best practice and demonstration methodologies for the long term surveillance of CEPTU species as well as an action plan for integrated conservation measures.

In addition to data acquisition and processing, public awareness, training and citizen science activities will be carried out.

Core area is the Central and South Tyrrhenian Sea, Sardinian Channel and Strait of Sicily, Italian EPZ representative of different ecological conditions, intensity of main anthropogenic activities and recognized as CEPTU knowledge gap.

Expected results

  • Identification of offshore CEPTU important areas (e.g. buffer zones, stepping stones, ecological corridors) suitable as offshore N2000 sites and seasonal critical risk areas for species in 4 key MED areas of WMED, and ADRION Region;
  • Report on evaluation of coherence&gaps between the current conservation/mitigation strategies and the identified important and risk areas;
  • Decision Support System tool to guide effective conservation measures;
  • Protocol&guideline on integrated approaches for species long term surveillance and main threats monitoring (MT, ML) and effective measures identification.


Stazione Zoologica Anton Dorhn, Italy;

University of Milano-Bicocca, Italy;

University of Palermo, Italy;

Capo Carbonara Marine Protected Area, Italy;

Fondazione CMCC, Italy;

Triton Research, Italy;

EcoOcean Institut, France;

University of Valencia, Spain;

Fondazione CIMA, Italy;

University of Torino, Italy

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