A project to save the sea
By Maria Chiara De Lorenzo e Patrizia Mazzola
World Oceans Day is celebrated on the 8th of June, it is an occasion to celebrate and learn to care for our blue planet together. For the occasion, we bring you this article that offers the all Mediterranean testimony of Piero De Santis, from Porto Sant’Elpidio on the Adriatic Sea: a good practice and experience as an inspiration for each country washed by the sea or ocean.
Last year (2020 – 2021), when the government imposed the closure of the locality in the period of the lockdown, for quite some time I was with my brother, Giuliano, the president of Assoittica, an association that reunites the fish merchants at Civitanova Marche, headquarter of the biggest fish market of the area. The association has almost about 90 associates that purchase fish from the Adriatic every week, from around 37 local fishing boats.
He had long been discouraged due to the various problems related to the professional activity and had the intention of resigning from the position of president. We spoke about this for long and it arose of how this job, that of the fisherman, was important and one couldn’t ignore the fact that it had the possibility to give our contributions so that our sea could receive the attention and adequate cure for a true environmental restoration. The huge amount of plastic found in the sea, the topic related to the zero km fish consumption – as 80% of the seafood consumption in Italy comes from abroad -, the legality problems of the fish markets, were all issues that closely touched us.
So, with our friends from Agorà, an association of Macerata that deals with civil rights, active citizenship and political formation, we thought of a project we called “Clean Sea” articulated on three points: the cleansing of the sea, the consumption of fish and legality.
A state law, issued last year, authorizes and promotes some co – programming tables that start from the base. We organized the first meeting at Civitanova Marche, inside the fish market, with the municipality, the WWF, Legambiente, Adiconsum, the big and small fishery, the parishes and spoke about the first point that is the cleansing of the sea.
The 11th of May 2022 was a historic day for the sea as the “Save-the-Sea law” was approved in its final form by the Italian Senate. Practically speaking, the fishermen will be permitted to bring ashore the plastic recovered in the nets, that was first disposed in the sea, because it constituted a crime to illegally transport waste.
After this initial meeting, the first work table was set up in the presence of the Port Authority, the Cosmari Mc, the entity that does the differentiated waste collection in the Macerata area of the big and small fishery.
We will continue with other projects that will concern the municipality, the region and state to obtain funds. We feel that our task is to create networks between people and associations in order to have greater impact on the environment and people’s health. In addition, we are already in touch with the Ascoli Piceno cooperative that manages the Museum of the Sea at San Benedetto of Tronto, with some friends of Cesena as well as have the intention to reach till Rimini.
Even the schools, like the Scientific High School of Civitanova that has a section dedicated to the marine environment and the Polytechnic High School of Marche are getting involved.
We are working so that our primary school cafeterias provide the students, at least once a week, with some fresh fish from the Adriatic. Involving the parishes was another important step especially because of the presence of the youth.
Piero De Santis, Porto Sant’Elpidio