The House of Fish: Italian fisherman’s underwater museum helping marine life to survive and thrive

An Italian fisherman in a small Tuscan coastal town has created an underwater sculpture park to help revive marine life affected by illegal fishing.

The House of Fish underwater sculpture park was created along a stretch of Tuscan coastline, near the town of Talamone, by local fisherman Paolo Fanciulli.

In 2015, the fisherman released 39 huge stone sculptures onto the seabed. The sculptures, which are made from Carrara marble, include the monumental head of the Weeping Guardian by British artist Emily Young and the Ittico Obelisco by Massimo Catalani.

Prior to the museum being created, illegal fishing trawlers routinely ploughed through the waters above, their heavily weighted dragnets ripping up the seagrass that underpins marine ecosystems, and indiscriminately sweeping up all sea life in their path.

The artworks, which have accumulated algae since being dropped into the seabed, is encouraging marine life back to the waters and has completely halted illegal trawling in the area.

Seven years after the first sculptures were deposited, marine populations are springing back to life. A pod of dolphins has relocated to the coast, while sea bream, mullet, shellfish, lobsters and turtles are also prospering.

A further 12 to 15 sculptures is intended to be dropped into the seabed of Talamone over the next two years.

Rosa Medea is Life & Soul Magazine’s Chief. She writes about lifestyle including sustainable and green living

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