The Mar Piccolo of Taranto is located North of the town of Taranto and has a surface area of 20.72 km2. It is an inner, semi-enclosed sea with estuarine features divided by two promontories of land into two smaller inlets, called First and Second Inlet which have a maximum depth of 13 and 10 m, respectively. The Mar Piccolo is connected with the Mar Grande basin through two channels, of which only one is important for the water exchange in the basin. Tidal range does not exceed 30-40 cm. The presence of both 34 submarine freshwater springs (locally called "Citri") and the outfalls of small tributary rivers influence the salinity. The scarce hydrodinamism and the reduced water exchange with the nearby Mar Grande determine, mainly in summer, a high water stratification.
There are many activity which can causes unsustainable Forcings in this site, ie :
- Urbanization - Industrial Waste
- Intensive Aquaculture
- Intensive Agriculture
- Unresolved Use Conflict
The heavy industry and navy docks are two of the main employers in the area. The steel ndustry, not only through the emissions but also through the water-scooping machines, trongly influences the biodiversity and environmental quality of water and sediments. The resence of such industrial activities is also in conflict with other productive instalments suchs the mussel farms and related activities. The drainage of agricultural soils and the sewagenputs are also important factors that influence the water and sediment quality. The Mar
Piccolo is one of the Sites of National Interest for the high level of pollution and a special Programme has just been started in order to plan an intervention for cleaning sediments and reducing pollution. Regional Programmes also include interventions for the characterization and recovery of surrounding sites that may indirectly influence the quality of the basin.