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Blog Posts by: Silvia García

Recently, the Spanish Ministry of the Environment and Rural and Marine Environment [Ministerio de Medio Ambiente, Medio Rural y Marino (MARM)] has approved, through a positive environmental impact declaration, the surveying of a large marine area in the search for fossil fuels, that could be found at more than 1600 metres, on the sea floor at a depth of 200 metres.

Today we have navigated towards a new submerged elevation, to see what we could find in its depths.  We are referring to Algarrobo bank (it is the name given to some kinds of marine elevations) submerged in front of Malaga, approximately 20 nautical miles from the Spanish coast. When we left the port of Almerimar, with a few hours of navigation ahead, some of us thought: “good sea today to see cetaceans”.  The sea was like a plate and the sky, although it was a bit cloudy, was not going to stop the spectacle we would witness:

Logo LIFE-INDEMARESIt is impressive how, after almost 50 dives made by Oceana with the underwater robot (ROV) in this area, we can still find new habitats. This time, the surprise has come by the hand of a mollusk, the giant oyster Neopycnodonte zibrowii. More than 400 metres in depth, over some rocks, we have found several individuals of this long-lived animal, who lives up to 500 years and is considered a living fossil.

Logo LIFE-INDEMARESLast year, when we were working in the same area –the western half of the area designated to be studied within the framework of the LIFE+INDEMARES Project–, we also found groups of common bottlenose dolphins, swimming, resting or feeding. This time, we saw two groups of at least 15 individuals, something similar to what we were able to observe in 2010 while we were working in the same area.

Logo LIFE-INDEMARESSeco de los Olivos (aka Chella Bank) has shown us why it is today an area exploited by fishermen looking for two of the most valued treasures of the Mediterranean: the grouper and the red coral, the latter one harvested here until a few decades ago.

Logo LIFE-INDEMARESDivers

We start the day with a dive off Punta de Baños, a place also known as "Culo de perro." The seamount is pretty interesting because its southern slope rises two or three meters from the sea bed, harboring numerous gorgonians Leptogorgia sasarmentosa and many other species we'll describe when we analyze the images taken by the divers.

ROV dive

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