LIFE Project Cover Photo

Re-establishment of the Ribbed Limpet (Patella ferruginea) in Ligurian MPAs by Restocking and Controlled Reproduction

Reference: LIFE15 NAT/IT/000771 | Acronym: RE.LIFE



The geomorphological features of the Portofino MPA promontory favour the development of a rich and highly diversified benthic fauna and flora. The area hosts the most important shallow-water coral population of the Ligurian Sea and contains significant gorgonian populations. The fish community includes such species as the brown grouper, brown meagre, dentex and barracuda. The coastal areas are also home to the ribbed Mediterranean limpet (Patella ferruginea), an endemic gastropod mollusc from the western Mediterranean and one of the most endangered invertebrates of the entire basin.

The species is included in Annex II of the SPAMI Convention, along with Appendix 2 of the Bern Convention and Annex IV of the Habitats Directive. Furthermore, the ribbed Mediterranean limpet is a target species for evaluating good marine environmental status (GES) in line with the Italian Marine Strategy and EU Marine Strategy Framework Directive (MSFD). This species, however, has all but disappeared due to pollution and being harvested for food and bait by recreational fishermen.


The general objective of the RE.LIFE project is to reintroduce the ribbed Mediterranean limpet to the Portofino MPA and to other Ligurian MPAs (Bergeggi and Cinque Terre) included in four Natura 2000 network sites, as well as to raise awareness of the importance of conserving this species. To achieve this goal, the project will carry out the following actions:

  • Define a protocol for the transfer of limpets from high- to low-density areas and transfer specimens from the Tavolara MPA in northern Sardinia to Portofino; and
  • Set up limpet hatcheries and define a protocol for controlled reproduction and restocking. The hatcheries will help extend the repopulation process and its replication in other MPAs, as well as restoring the original population in Tavolara MPA through the transfer of reared individuals.
  • The project will contribute to the implementation of the MSFD as well as helping carry out the EU Biodiversity Strategy to 2020.

    Expected results: The project expects to achieve the following results:

  • Biodiversity recovery and restoration of ribbed Mediterranean limpet by re-establishing a local population starting with 100 specimens;
  • Reproduction and production of juveniles (some 6 000 larvae per year) to be introduced to the target areas for restocking;
  • Full recovery and new population development of ribbed Mediterranean limpet in the target area;
  • Restoration of the population translocated from Tavolara by introducing juveniles from controlled reproduction; and
  • Strengthened territorial promotion and reinforcement of the ?clean sea? message.


    Reference: LIFE15 NAT/IT/000771
    Acronym: RE.LIFE
    Start Date: 01/10/2016
    End Date: 31/03/2022
    Total Budget: 1,247,061 €
    EU Contribution: 748,235 €
    Project Location:
    Project Website:


    Coordinating Beneficiary: Consorzio di gestione dell'Area Marina Protetta di Portofino
    Legal Status: PAT
    Address: Castello Byron - Via alla Penisola, 16034, Portofino, Italia
    Contact Person: Valentina CAPPANERA
    Tel: +390185289649

    LIFE Project Map



    • Invertebrates


    • coastal area
    • population dynamics


    • Directive 2008/56 - Framework for community action in the field of marine environmental policy (Marine Strategy Framework Directive) (17.06.2008)
    • Directive 92/43 - Conservation of natural habitats and of wild fauna and flora- Habitats Directive (21.05.1992)
    • COM(2011) 244 final ?Our life insurance, our natural capital: an EU biodiversity strategy to 2020? (03.05.2011)
    • Bern Convention on the Conservation of European Wildlife and Natural Habitats (01.06.1982)


    • 0 - Non applicable (i.e.species project)


    • Patella ferruginea


    Type Code Name
    SCI IT1323271 Fondali Noli - Bergeggi
    SCI IT1332674 Fondali Monte Portofino
    SCI IT1344270 Fondali Punta Mesco - Rio Maggiore


    Name Type
    Consorzio di gestione dell'Area Marina Protetta di Portofino Coordinator
    Parco Nazionale delle Cinque Terre, Italy Participant
    Costa Edutainment S.P.A., Italy Participant
    Comune di Bergeggi, Italy Participant
    Università degli Studi di Genova, Italy Participant
    Softeco Sismat srl, Italy Participant
    Consorzio di Gestione dell’Area Marina Protetta di Tavolara – Punta Coda Cavallo, Italy Participant