The third week of the sailing campaign began in Milazzo, where Lion, a sailboat with a criminal past in migrant smuggling and revived by being assigned to LNI, set sail under the banner of the Natura 2000 marine sites of the Aeolian Archipelago. After passing through the Capo Milazzo Marine Protected Area and its marine sites, in fact, it touched the islands of Vulcano, Stromboli, Panarea, Salina, Filicudi, Alicudi and Lipari. These seven pearls of land sprouting from the sea are in the process of becoming, for all intents and purposes, jointly, Marine Reserves but at the moment have already been designated by the EU as Natura 2000 sites. Each island actually represents a site in its own right, itself surrounded by the marine and terrestrial site ITA030044 Aeolian Archipelago.
As many as 13 priority habitats are found here, ranging from Posidonia oceanica meadows to lava fields, from cliffs to Mediterranean pine forests, and from salt meadows to rocky slopes. Equally rich is the fauna, both terrestrial and marine, with 29 priority species including mainly birds. In fact, the archipelago is an important migratory route for birds of prey (such as the Queen’s hawk Falco eleonorae) and storks (white Ciconia ciconia and black Ciconia nigra), and the islands are home to several IUCN Red Listed species (among those threatened with extinction) such as the greater shearwater (Calonectris diomedea), the marsh harrier (Circo aeruginosus), and the hen harrier (Circus pygargus), and, as an incidental, the imperial eagle (Aquila heliaca). Among the ichthyofauna also present are species at the top of the food chain or of large size, such as swordfish (Xiphias gladius), brown grouper (Epinephelus marginatus), bluefin tuna (Thunnus thynnus), white shark (Carcharodon carcharias), and Mobula mobular sea devil.
In parallel with the activities at sea, Federparchi-Europarc Italia organized in collaboration with the Capo Milazzo MPA-which includes two Natura 2000 sites (ITA030032 Capo Milazzo and ITA030045 Fondali di Capo Milazzo)-a participatory meeting in Milazzo on May 30, at the theater foyer, and two free guided tours on Thursday, June 1, and Saturday, June 3, on the east and west trails, respectively.