The Secche della Meloria Marine Protected Area is situated in the northwestern area of the Mediterranean Sea, 3 miles far from the coast near Livorno.
The marine area was included in the early 80's among the twenty areas listed in the law 979/82 "Disposizioni per la difesa del mare" (Measures for the protection of the sea) for the establishment of Marine Reserves. It was definitively established with Ministerial Decree on 28th July, 2009.
The Secche della Meloria represent an area of extraordinary historic, archaeological and natural interest. For centuries they represented a natural fortress against the enemies, and many shipwrecks occurred there. From a naturalistic point of view the Secche delle Meloria marine protected area is a unique ecosystem as far as its extent and diversity are concerned,characterized by an high morphological variability (alternation of rock areas and sand bottoms) that allows many fish species and a varied marine vegetation to settle in.
In the area the richest and most productive biocoenosis in the Mediterranean Sea are present, such as the wide prairies of Posidonia oceanica (primary habitat of the Directive on Habitats), the coralligenous habitat, the Cystoseira Algae population, and the coast debris. Moreover, the precious red coral (Corallium rubrum) is present.