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Translocation campaign in France and Italy

In February 2024, IMEDMAR-UCV started the translocation campaign of pen shells in collaboration with colleagues from the Paul Ricard Oceanographic Institute (IOPR) and the University of Naples Federico II (UNINA).

The campaign began in Mèze, France, where juveniles of Pinna nobilis were collected from a transit area for boats and bathers in the Étang de Thau lagoon. These specimens were transported to Embiez Island, home to the Paul Ricard Oceanographic Institute, with the objective of enhancing the survival prospects of the species. Additionally, several specimens of Pinna nobilis were rescued from the oyster farms in the area, where survival chances are minimal due to management practices.

The next phase of the fan mussel translocation survey took place in the Venice Lagoon, Italy. Here, IMEDMAR-UCV collaborated with our Italian counterparts from the University of Naples Federico II (UNINA) and CNR - Institute of Marine Sciences (CNR-ISMAR). The focus of the visit was on locating and collecting Pinna nobilis individuals, as well as sampling tissue from other specimens. These samplings will contribute to our understanding of the pathologies affecting the species and further our efforts in its conservation.

LIFE PINNARCA in the British Ecological Society (BES) Annual Meeting 2023, Belfast

The poster  "Current status and perspectives of the pen shell (Pinna nobilis) in the western Mediterranean Sea; a species highly threatened with extinction" was showcased at the Annual Meeting of the British Ecological Society (BES Meeting 2023), held in Belfast, the capital of Northern Ireland, from December 12 to 15, 2023.

In the last decade, Pinna nobilis has suffered a drastic population decline due to an infectious disease, likely caused by the protozoan parasite Haplosporidium pinnae and the bacteria Mycobacterium spp., among others. Consequently, only a few isolated surviving populations persist scattered along its original habitat. Since 2016, when a mass mortality event occurred, substantial efforts have been made by the scientific community to preserve the species. In this sense, the current situation of the species presented here, centered in the Ebro Delta population and the NE Iberian Peninsula, is being studied as part of the LIFE project (LIFE PINNARCA NAT/ES/001265), focused on improving our understanding of key aspects of pen shell biology, ecology, and populations status, an essential information to develop conservation and management strategies for preserving the species. 

With this poster, we aimed to raise awareness on a global scale, given the participation of over 1,500 delegates from more than 50 countries across six continents attending the meeting in person or online. Additionally, we sought to encourage broad public collaboration and provided a more informed background to other countries planning mitigation and recovery actions on the topic.


Pen shell activity at the Delta Birding Festival in Ebro Delta

As every year, in the Ebro Delta (Spain), one of the most important natural spot in the Western Mediterranean, takes place the Delta Birding Festival. These 22-23 of September 2023 took place this ornithological festival that offers a wide range of conferences, activities, workshops, contests… and also a big trade fair with photographic equipment, optics, books and other products of interest to the nature lovers.

Similarly, other activities also can be found, like the Pinna nobilis guided visits, where visitors moved to the Trabucador area accompanied by guides from the Barcelona Zoo to learn about the problem of the pen shell in the Delta. The participants went snorkelling to the monitored area in front of the kitesurf zone and they helped with the follow up of the studied individuals.

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Study tour in Spain from Croatian partners

This 15 and 16th of June, four members of the Institute for Environment and Nature from the Ministry of Economy and Sustainable Development of Republic of Croatia visited Spain to see the current situation of the Pinna nobilis populations.

Their institution is currently implementing an ESI funded project, focusing on the mapping of coastal and benthic marine habitats in the Adriatic Sea under national jurisdiction.

During their study tour in Spain, they visited the IMEDMAR infrastructures in Calpe (Valencia) and IRTA (Catalunya) in order to learn about the situation of the Pinna nobilis population, the actions carried out and the progress and achievements during the LIFE PINNARCA (LIFE20-NAT/ES/001265). The guided visits were of their interest to acquire knowledge for keeping the study of coastal seabed, with special emphasis on the GIS system and the mapping techniques of places of interest such as marine reserves and SCI areas (Site of Community Importance).


2nd monitoring meeting of the LIFE PINNARCA

This 12th of May it was held the second monitoring meeting of the LIFE PINNARCA in Calpe (Valencia) and online for the partners who couldn’t attend. The aim of the meeting was following up of technical and economical aspects with NEEMO representative, who is the external figure responsible for monitoring LIFE Projects and Communicating about the LIFE Programme. Each partners updated the status of their actions in the project and the financial situation. Check out some moments of the meeting:

4th Follow-up Meeting

Held on the 27th of January of 2023, the team reviewed the advance of the project and made a short overview of the ongoing activities and actions in progress. The country for the next Meeting with NEEMO was selected and a next supervision meeting in March was scheduled.

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Online 3rd Technical Meeting


Held in the 19th of January of 2023, the team reviewed the advance of the project and discussed actions, progress, and deliverables. The meeting focused on the discussion and identification of optimal sites to perform conservation actions, which are of high importance to reach successful reintroductions/reinforcements in Pinna nobilis populations. Two kinds of situations for P. nobilis will be taken into account in this action, sanctuary areas (free of pathogen), and areas in the Mediterranean open sea (ideal for resistants).

“Restoration Programme of Pinna nobilis” Workshop in Tunis

This 20-21 June 2022 a regional workshop to discuss and validate the “Restoration Programme of Pinna nobilis has been held in Tunis, Tunisia. The event is organised by the Specially Protected Areas Regional Activity Centre (SPA/RAC), the biodiversity centre of UNEP Mediterranean Action Plan (UNEP/MAP) - Convention for the Protection of the Marine Environment and the Coastal Region of the Mediterranean (Barcelona Convention).

Here you can find attached the draft "Restoration programme of Pinna nobilis" discussed during the workshop. One of the main objectives of the workshop is to complete the priorities and action required to attain the objective of the restoration programme of the fan mussel in the Mediterranean and the implementation timetable for the period 2023-2028. It has brought together scientists and representatives of Mediterranean environmental organisations which allowed an interesting round table discussion on the status of Pinna nobilis populations as a major closure.

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 Official presentation of the LIFE PINNARCA Project and monitoring meeting with Neemo representative


The official presentation and press meeting of LIFE PINNARCA Project (LIFE 20-NAT/ES/001265) was held on the 28th of April of 2022 in Valencia (Spain). The Institute for Research in Environment and Marine Science of the Catholic University of Valencia (IMEDMAR-UCV) hosted the meeting in the Veles i Vents building in Valencia.

The overall goal of the project is to prevent the extinction of the Mediterranean fan mussel (Pinna nobilis) in the short-to-medium term. The project will carry out urgent measures within the framework of an international collaborative consortium of experts to enable the application of coherent trans-boundary measures.

In addition, you can find the LIFE PINNARCA presentation below (ENG/CAST):

In the afternoon, the partners visited the IMEDMAR-UCV marine station and started the following up meeting with Neemo representative, continuing the technical and economical review of the project:


Online kick-off Meeting

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