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A European project focusing on the recovery of the fan mussel Pinna nobilis in the Mediterranean Sea

Screening of the documentary "Salvando la Nacra: Proyecto europeo LIFE PINNARCA" in Valencia (Spain)

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An unprecedented mass mortality event (MME) has affected the fan mussels (Pinna nobilis) since September 2016. The pandemics has killed 99% of the populations and only a few relict populations remain in sanctuary areas (deltas and marine coastal lagoons).

The aim of LIFE PINNARCA is avoiding the extinction of the species, involve citizen science in its protection and improve the environmental quality of the sanctuaries.

The results of this project will be applied to other marine species affected by pandemic diseases and the actions improve the environmental quality and monitoring of other relevant marine areas and species.

Have you seen
any Pinna nobilis?

Sea Watchers (Observadores del Mar) is a portal for marine research that opens the way for citizen science to be a support tool for marine biodiversity monitoring programs. They have established an alliance to continue promoting, marine citizen science for the monitoring and conservation of the P. nobilis in the Mediterranean.

As a critically endangered species, and included in the IUCN Red List, it is becoming increasingly difficult to observe still-living Pinna nobilis individuals. So, if you find any fan mussels, dead or alive, you can help scientist by reporting their location, depth or health condition. Your observation is crucial to expand our knowledge of this problem and help scientific community assessing the damage and recovery of the species and proposing management measures to deal with possible similar events.


1. Geolocalise the Pinna nobilis with the GPS (nowadays available with a Smartphone) and note its health status.

Most of the individuals that can be observed on our seabeds are unfortunately dead. To check the viability of the organism, we only have to get close and gently brush the valves: if they are still alive, Pinna nobilis should automatically close.

IMPORTANT: Pinna nobilis is declared critically endangered and the destruction, death, deterioration, collection or trade of fan mussels is punishable by fines of 100 € to 2.000.000 € according to articles 80 and 81 of Law 42/2007 on Natural Heritage and Biodiversity.

2. Taking a photo is very important, and if possible, take different measures of the individual (habitat, depth, health status, width, etc.) so we can get a good documentation. The more information you get, the better.

3. Report the new sighting by going to the Sea Watchers platform and fill in the form with all the information:

“The greatest danger to our planet is the belief that someone else will save it.”

Project partners

The project is coordinated by Professors José Rafael Garcia-March and José Tena Medialdea, Scientific Coordinator and Director of the Research Institute IMEDMAR-UCV of the Universidad Católica de Valencia

The project partners are:

  • Agencia Estatal Centro Superior de Investigaciones Científicas, Spain

  • Instituto Español de Oceanografía, Centre Oceanogràfic de Balears, Spain

  • Instituto Mediterráneo de Estudios Avanzados, Univesitat de les Illes Balears, Spain

  • Ecologistas en Acción Región de Murcia, Spain

  • Institut Océanographique Paul Ricard, France

  • Institut de Recerca i Tecnologia Agroalimentàries, la Ràpita, Spain

  • Panepistimio Aigaiou, University of The Aegean – Research Unit, Greece

  • Universidad de Alicante, Spain

  • Università degli Studi di Napoli Federico II – Dipartimento di Biologia, Italy

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Contact Us


C/Guillem de Castro, 94. 46001 Valencia, Valencia, Spain

+34 96 3637412 - Ext. 4502 or 2144

Estación marina IMEDMAR-UCV

C/Explanada del Puerto s/n

03710 Calpe, Alicante, Spain

+34 628222700

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