Oceana asks for similar initiatives in the rest of the Balearic Islands to stop the degradation of the posidonia prairies.
The archipelago still houses some of the most important prairies in the Mediterranean, after a third of them having disappeared in the world.
Oceana applauds the presentation of the “Regulation Project of the anchorage of vessels in the North-West of the Ses Salines Natural Park”, released last Friday by Silvia Tur, the person responsible for the department of Environment, Energy and Industry of the Island Council of Formentera. This draft represents an essential tool to protect the underwater prairies of posidonia in this protected area and is a result of the images published last summer showing their destruction by chains and anchors.
The international organization of marine conservation considers the Council initiative to be very positive, developing aspects very important for the protection and care of posidonia existing in the protected area, such as user information, the number of authorised vessels and the penalties which should be imposed on the infractors, among others. It also proposes the installation of 176 ecological buoys.
On the 23rd of August, all the political parties in the Council reached a unanimous agreement about the need to adopt urgent measures for the protection of the posidonia prairies, after the evident regression of some of the most important ones in the Balearic archipelago. Such agreement has made possible the writing of a draft plan on solid anchorage, which is necessary to put an end to the pressure faced by the prairies of Ses Salines as a result of continuous inadequately regulated anchorage.
Xavier Pastor, Executive Director of Oceana Europe, explains that: “The political unanimity shown in the Council should be an example for other administrations of how to act against aggressions to the natural heritage. We would like to congratulate all the political parties on their decision in favour of the conservation of the spectacular marine environment of the island of Formentera, and we ask the Balearic Government to perpetuate this type of actions for the benefit of the citizens of the Balearic Islands and their marine heritage”.
The prairies of oceanic Posidonia found in the Natural Park of Ses Salines d´Eivissa y Formentera are declared World Heritage Site by UNESCO, therefore Oceana has sent reports to UNESCO and the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN).
Moreover, the degradation suffered by the prairies of posidonia in the areas of non-regulated anchorage could be considered as an infringement of the Habitats Directive, an essential community regulation for the protection of natural habitats and wild animals and plants, and of the rest of the state and regional regulations on environmental protection applicable to the area and oceanic Posidonia species. According to the spokesperson of the ecologists, taking into consideration the seriousness of the perpetrated aggressions, Oceana has fulfilled its statutory obligations urging the Balearic and Spanish administrations and the European Union to comply with the current regulations and to put a definitive end to the destruction of this important marine habitat.
“The administrations must fulfil their obligations. What we are facing is extremely serious, because it is concerning a highly protected plant in all the environments, both as a species and as the habitats it forms”, explains Ricardo Aguilar, Research Director of Oceana Europe. “An ample set of regulations exists to enforce its conservation and to take all the necessary steps to stop its degradation. Even so, surprisingly, the marine prairies are one of the most threatened habitats and in the last one hundred years a third of the prairies on the planet have disappeared. This regression keeps increasing and we must put a stop to this with exemplary initiatives like the one presented today in Formentera”.
Oceana has available photos, a video and a map of the damages caused by anchorages.