The Marine Reserve

Since its establishment in 1986 the reserve has been managed by Ustica’s local board of councillors... The success and consolidation of the reserve within the Ustican community has been integrated into the wealth of the island's population and is the main key to the island's promotion and development. The number of scuba divers that visit and explore the waters of Ustica evidences the positive effect of the marine reserve. During every dive along the coast it is quite normal to see various species of marine life of size, quantity and colour that are rare in other parts of the Mediterranean Sea. The extensive and unique structure of the volcanic abyss of the island and the purity of the coastal waters favour the abundant presence of a complex variety of fauna that at only a few meters below the water's surface offer an exceptional range of colours and textures.

The Reserve is subdivided into three zones:

ZONE A - Strict Conservation Area: Delimited by 5 large yellow buoys 350m from the coast, this stretch of sea reaches from the small bay (Caletta) to the Sidoti Bay (Cala Sidoti) and is the most protected area of the Marine Reserve. Thoroughfare and mooring of all water craft is prohibited in this area, as is fishing and any other activity might harm or disturb the environmental characteristics. Access to bathers is only permitted from the shore in the Caletta and Cala Sidoti areas.

ZONE B - General Conservation Area: This area of the Reserve is delimited by the lighthouses at ‘Punta Cavazzi’ and ‘Punta Omo Morto’ on the northern coastline of Ustica and extends for three miles out to sea.
Pleasure boats are allowed to navigate these waters, line fishing is permitted as is scuba diving but underwater fishing is not allowed. Organisms, whether animal, vegetable or mineral may not be taken from this area. Professional fishermen residing on Ustica may operate in this zone if they have been issued with a permit by the municipality.

ZONE C - Partial Reserve: This area concerns the whole southern coast of the island. from Punta Omo Morto to Punta Cavazzi and extends three miles seawards. All marine activities allowed by current Italian legislation are permitted in this area. As of the year 2000, underwater fishing is also prohibited in Zone C. A permit is necessary for commercial fishing and may only be requested by local resident fishermen