By: ambraeditor On: October 29, 2018 In: News Comments: 0
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The Aeolian Islands Preservation Fund (AIPF) works to preserve the exceptional natural beauty of the Aeolian Islands, by promoting a sustainable approach to tourism and development. The AIPF raises money from people and businesses that have a strong connection to the islands and distributes those funds to the most deserving local environmental initiatives across 5 main areas: Marine Conservation; Landscape Conservation; Sustainable Agriculture; Waste Management; Renewable Energy.


Marine Conservation

Sea Shepherd, with support from the AIPF, launched the ‘SISO’ operation. A a new campaign to tackle illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing in the Aeolian archipelago.

Sea Shepherd’s vessel M/V Sam Simon together with Lipari’s Coast Guard, Milazzo’s Revenue and Customs Authorities, and with the collaboration of artisanal fishermen, confiscated 52 fads (Fishing Aggregating Devices) and 100 kilometers of polypropylene line in the Aeolian Islands in 178 hours. A special recognition also goes to Smile Wave, a Swiss foundation that supports both Sea Shepherd and the AIPF projects. Local authorities, visitors, students and tourists visited the Sam Simon boat when it was in Lipari and Salina; they also met with President Andrea Morello and the team.

The AIPF together with Blue Marine Foundation (BLUE), is working to support sustainable fishing, restore fish stocks, reduce pollution and protect rare marine habitats and species. 

We supported the renovation of the Filicudi rescue and rehabilitation centre for sea turtles with Filicudi Wildlife Conservation, to ensure the conservation of endangered loggerhead turtles. A sea turtle was released the day of the opening, after being treated for a bowel obstruction. Marine debris and microplastics were extracted from the turtle faeces. Our funding was used to purchase medical supplies and to assist the sea turtles.

© Marco Russo

Between 6-8th October off the coast of the Aeolian Islands, Healthy Seas, in partnership with the Aeolian Islands Preservation Fund, Blue Marine Foundation and Ghost Fishing Foundation, involved local divers and fishermen to rescue more than four tons of ghost fishing gear. This will be transformed into sustainable textiles for fashion houses across the globe by Aquafil. During the mission, the divers recovered their largest ever net, which had been lost in a storm 10 years ago.

The campaign “Make Salina Plastic Bags Free” was launched, in collaboration with the municipalities of the island, at the Salina Doc Fest, with the aim of drastically reducing the distribution and consumption of single use plastic bags. 6000 reusable cotton bags have been distributed in all the markets in Salina.

Following the World Oceans Day, Salina’s restaurants committed to supporting a more responsible local fisheries market. They also produced a guide to responsible local fish consumption, and a fish calendar of the Aeolian commercial species. This event was run in collaboration with Capofaro Locanda & Malvasia.
Our recreational boating code of conduct has been distributed to all boat rental companies in the Aeolians, with the support of the Coast Guard. The aim is to inform boat users about how enjoy the local marine environment whilst simultaneously protecting its habitats and wildlife.
At the Marina Corta harbour in Lipari, students from the local primary school IC Lipari 1 and secondary school IC Santa Lucia met the divers and fishermen who recovered the lost fishing nets from the Aeolian seabed and learnt more about marine litter, and the circular economy.
At the Festa di Teatro EcoLogico” in Stromboli, a theatre, art and dance festival where art meets nature, we presented the workshop “The sea of time” with a focus on sea pollution, dedicated to the children of the island, who collected plastic waste from the beach that has been used for the final performance. The aim of the project was to raise awareness of the problem of marine litter and to ensure future adults respect the place where we live, the environment and our islands.
Waste management 
In Lipari in just three months 50000 plastic bottles have been recycled by the local community, thanks to the Marevivo initiative and the eco-compactor that we funded. The bottles would cover the distance of 17km, equal to the circumference of Stromboli island. We are working to secure new spaces across the archipelago to set up new eco compactors.

The island of Salina hosted an international event: “Responsible, small-scale fishing: Win-win, low-impact, sustainable models that boost fish stocks and improve livelihoods”, organised by BLUE and the AIPF. There was an exchange programme where fishermen from five small-scale European fisheries met to discuss their experiences for the first time. Aeolian fishermen hosted their counterparts from the Italian marine protected areas (MPAs) of Egadi Islands, Punta Campanella, Torre Guaceto, and Lyme Bay, UK. The participating fishermen presented various initiatives from their local regions, showing how responsible, small-scale fisheries are beneficial to the local fishing economy and the marine environment.

Following a think tank organized in 2016 involving the international organization  Oceana Europe, a second event to present their research in the Aeolian Islands has been organized in Lipari, in occasion of the festival “Un Mare di Cinema”. Their expedition revealed unexpected and endangered marine species.

The posidonia oceanica study was presented in Salina island by Stazione Zoologica Anthon Dohrn in collaboration with BLUE and AIPF. Devastatingly, 25% of the seagrass meadows have already disappeared because of the effects of climate change and boat moorings. The monitoring is necessary in order to preserve this important ecosystem which serves as the lungs of the ocean. The posidonia is a slow-growing plant and can be irreversibly damaged.

ONDA offered one lucky member from their Alliance of clubs the opportunity to experience first hand a sustainable project in collaboration with the AIPF and with the support of the Aeolian based tour operator Le Isole d’Italia. Kendal Owens from 42 Acres was the chosen one to embark on an adventure to the Aeolian Islands.  Kendal’s trip included a cultural exchange with Responsible Fishermen’s new Blue Marine program, a visit to Sea Shepherd’s legendary boat and finished with a hike up Mt. Stromboli.