Stagnone di Marsala and Trapani saltpans

Year of compilation: 2000

Site description
A complex of brackish wetlands (Stagnone di Marsala), saltpans (Saline di Trapani) and islets (Isole dello Stagnone di Marsala) along the west coast of Sicily, south of the town of Trapani. The Stagnone di Marsala is one of the last remaining lagoons in Sicily. It measures 10 km (north-south) by 3 km. It has an average depth of 1 m (maximum is only 2.5 m). The principal vegetation is bushes of Salicornia and Salsola, whilst the surrounding areas are largely agricultural. The Saline di Trapani are north of the lagoon and comprise a complex of saltpans at the mouth of the Baiata river. The main land-uses are salt extraction and agriculture.

Key biodiversity
An important site for wintering and migrating waterbirds and for breeding waders and terns. Over 21,000 waders have been recorded passing through the area in spring.

Pressure/threats to key biodiversity
The main threats are from illegal hunting and from the water-level management associated with salt-extraction and fishing. Some or all of the site is covered by a management plan.

Protected areas
National Partial International Unknown2,012 ha of IBA covered by Regional Nature Reserve (Isole dello Stagnone di Marsala, 2,012 ha). 1,100 ha of IBA covered by Regional Nature Reserve (Saline di Trapani e Paceco, 1,100 ha). Overlaps with SPA.

Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2022) Important Bird Areas factsheet: Stagnone di Marsala and Trapani saltpans. Downloaded from on 28/01/2022.