Restoration of marine habitats


Restoration of marine habitats is a powerful ally to reverse ecosystem degradation and maintain the natural value of sea habitats. It is not a default solution but rather the last step to complete the restoration of damaged natural resources.

Marine ecosystems are the home of habitats and species which are pivotal to life on Earth, such as meadows of Neptune grass, corals, or sponges. However, many of these marine communities are in a deficient state of conservation and damaged after decades of withstanding the impact of human activity.

This is true for corals, Gorgonia and sponges, among other sessile organisms, which have an invaluable role as architects and landscapers of sea bottoms as well as providing shelter areas and food to other species. For this reason, if these sessile species disappear, others do too.

In an attempt to revert this situations, no-fishing areas were established, in which fishing activities are permanently and entirely forbidden in order to allow commercial species to recover, such as hake, red shrimp, and scampi, and protect other species. However, habitat recovery is very slow, and, for this reason, it is vital to accelerate restoration processes.

In this mission we have an ally: marine restoration, which includes different actions aimed to revert the degradation of sea habitats and restore their natural values.  It is not a default solution but rather the last step to complete the restoration of damaged natural resources.






Deep sea habitats provide shelter and food to many species and boost marine biodiversity, since they play a fundamental role in the vital cycle of many sea organisms. Besides, they offer economic and recreational benefits.

Deep reefs (habitat 1170) are one of the five types of marine habitats listed in Annex I of the Habitats Directive as natural habitats of community interest. This project endeavours to restore this habitat but will also focus on the restoration of soft bottoms (sand bed and mud beds) or mixed substrates.


Collaboration with the fishing sector is a cornerstone to successfully achieve the goals of the project.

Protecting and preserving these spaces is important for everyone. For this reason, one of the core values of the LIFE ECOREST is the active collaboration of the fishing sector, which is a cornerstone to successfully achieve the goals of the project.  Specifically, one of the project’s partners is the Association of Fishers’ Cooperatives of Girona, which groups a series of cooperatives of fishers that work within the area of the scope of the project. The mission of the LIFE ECOREST project is to launch participative processes aimed at getting all stakeholders, both local and national, on board.

Besides, the collaboration of stakeholders of other sectors is sought for the recovery and conservation of marine habitats, as well as to communicate its relevance to the rest of the company.


Restoration of marine habitats has been addressed in other projects, the results and advances allow to increase scientific knowledge.

Rescap I, II and III: conservation and recovery of Gorgonia populations

This project, leaded by ICM-CSIC, has been focused in mitigating the impacts of traditional fishing on benthic communities, dominated by Gorgonia an deep-sea soft coral. In this line, this project has achieved its goals of returning accidentally caught specimens to their habitats, has monitored whether restoration is feasible and has generated new Gorgonia to extend ecological restoration in the area impacted by fishing.

Term: 2018 -2021. Its last edition took place in 2022.

Merces project: Marine Ecosystem Restoration in Changing European Seas.

The MERCES project, financed by European Union funds, has focused on the restoration of different degraded marine habitats with the ultimate goal of assessing the potential of different approaches and technologies to improve current restoration initiatives and develop new ones, increase adaptation of these ecosystems to global warming and improve their resilience.

Term: 2016-2020

Miticap Project I, II and III: cooperation between the fishing and the scientific communities to mitigate the impacts of fishing in sensitive marine habitats

This project worked on mitigating the interactions of traditional fishing on the most sensitive benthic habitats around Cap de Creus, through an extensive characterization of the main fisheries, which was been made possible by the close collaboration between the fishing and the scientific communities. Besides, the viability of extracting any lost or abandoned fishing gear that could be located was explored with the goal of reducing ghost fishing.

Term: 2018 -2019. Its last edition took place in 2022.

Restaura CORAL Spain project: encouraging blue entrepreneurship

This project encouraged entrepreneurship in the blue economy sector by means of capacitation and improvement of entrepreneur skills of any person participating in innovative sea restorative methods, and specifically in coral restoration.

Term: 2019-2020

SEASTORE projects: conservation and restoration of meadows of marine phanerogams

The SEASTORE project: Conservation and restoration of meadows of Cymodocea nodosa (marine phanerogam; work has been carried out to update the conservation status of meadows, assess the ecosystem services they provide and produce updated, standardized monitoring and restoration protocols for this species in the Canaries Islands.

Term: 2021- currently


For some in-depth resources on restoration of marine habitats, you will find more reports, materials and links below.

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