A few miles off Chioggia there are rock formations that local fishermen have always called “holded” (“tegnue”) for their ability to hold and break the nets. The divers who plunge here, can appreciate the great variety of life forms that inhabit these waters, unique in the Mediterranean Sea. Particularly striking, for shape and color, are the sponges, colonial sea squirts and anemones. The swarm of rocks brittle stars and crustaceans, from small hermit crabs, to the majestic lobsters. Among the fishes you can observe a multitude of blennies, damselfish, bags and scorpion fishes, big conger eels and croakers. You can also observe shoals of cods circling around the rocks.
In August 2002 the conservation value of this habitat, was recognized and protected by the establishment of a Biological Protection Zone which introduced a ban on fishing. The protected area was sponsored by the City of Chioggia, research institutes and universities, the Veneto Region, the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry, from the Harbour, by fishermen’s associations and tour operators. Thanks to the commitment and skills of Piero Mescalchin and his underwater films, today all these entities work together, within the framework of the Association “Tegnùe” of Chioggia, to safeguard and promote this unique environment.