• The project, also participated in by the Port Authority of Melilla and the University of Seville, applies 3D printing to create or regenerate habitats that are suitable for the endangered shellfish species

The ‘REMoPaf’ project, headed by ACCIONA Ingeniería with the participation of the Port Authority of Melilla and the University of Seville, has been selected by the European Commission to take part in the Life15 Program, which supports environmental and nature conservation programs that show the greatest potential. The objective of this project is to design and apply new techniques for the protection and recovery of the endangered mollusk species Patella ferruginea (Ribbed Mediterranean Limpet) through the re-population of its natural habitats and introducing it into new environments.

ACCIONA Ingeniería heads this project by undertaking the design, construction and support for the installation of mobile artificial substrates for the introduction of larvae (spawn) to foster their development and survival. Innovative 3D printing techniques will be used to produce these substrates in concrete, emulating the natural habitat of the species. ACCIONA, with extensive experience in marine projects, will also design the anchoring system and will coordinate the project with the European Commission.

The tests will take place in the facilities of the Port Authority of Melilla, where one the largest populations of Patella ferruginea is found. This entity also has long-standing experience in the preservation of this species through covenants with a number of universities and experts under a 'Strategy for the conservation of the Ribbed Mediterranean Limpet (Patella ferruginea) in Spain' (MAGRAMA, 2009).

The Marine Biology Laboratory of the University of Seville is participating as the scientific partner in the project, as some of its members were co-authors of the document that contained the strategy mentioned above. It is now part of the national-level Working Group on the species, under the auspices of MAGRAMA, whose objective is to promote and drive the actions needed to stop the species being endangered.

The Ribbed Mediterranean Limpet (Patella ferruginea) is a gastropod endemic to the western Mediterranean, catalogued as “endangered” according to the Spanish Catalogue of Endangered Species, and is included in Annex IV of the European Habitats Directive that obliges member states to protect it, even in places outside those listed in the Natura 2000 network. The only current population with the potential to reproduce re located on the North African coast, particularly in five places: the Chafarinas Islands, Ceuta, Melilla, the island of Zembra (Tunisia) and the Habibas Islands (Algeria). The causes of the regression are linked both to human activity – mainly through collection and capture – and to pollution, as the species has certain very demanding biological and ecological needs that mean that its ability to disperse and adapt to new habitats is very low.

The project comes under ACCIONA’s commitment to sustainability and the fight against climate change. One of the direct consequences of climate change is the loss of biodiversity.