Today’s Official State Gazette (BOE) announces the protection from trawling of the coralligenous and rhodolith seabeds of the summits of Ausias March and Emile Baudot, two seamounts in the channel of Mallorca, and the Fort d’en Moreu, a coralligenous reef
Oceana, which has been demanding this measure since 2006, congratulates the General Secretariat of Fisheries and encourages the government to continue with the protection of other similar seabeds which should also be closed to trawling and other aggressive methods.
Marine conservation organisation Oceana would like to congratulate the General Secretariat of Fisheries for the protection of the coralligenous and rhodolith seabeds documented by the organisation in the summits of Ausias March, Emile Baudot and the Fort d’en Moreu. These seabeds are considered protected habitats by Regulation (EC) 1967/2006 regarding the sustainable exploitation of fishery resources in the Mediterranean.
The Mediterranean Regulation establishes the obligation for Member States to close the coralligenous and rhodolith areas of the Mediterranean to trawling, dredging and other methods, given their importance for the conservation of fishery resources in this sea. Xavier Pastor, Executive Director of Oceana in Europe, explains: “Today we celebrate the culmination of several years of insisting that the government comply with the fisheries regulations and protect habitats which are essential for the recovery of fish stocks. Let’s not forget that the order issued today comes 7 years late, since the regulation came into force in 2006, and that what has happened today represents a first step along the road to closing all these protected seabeds to the most aggressive fishing activities, for the benefit of the ecosystem and hence fisheries resources,” adds Pastor.
The coralligenous and rhodolith seabeds are essential and very characteristic Mediterranean habitats, and these three-dimensional structures formed by calcareous red algae are true “paradises” for many commercial and protected species in the Mediterranean.
“Specifically, Oceana has documented the seabeds in the Balearic Islands which have been protected today, describing the extremely rich biodiversity that is under threat. In fact, right now we are out at sea documenting rhodolith seabeds which have not been included in this protection, especially in the areas to the north and west of the Fort d’en Moreu,” notes Pastor. “Therefore, we will continue campaigning for both the extension of these zones protected today, to cover the entire area occupied by these habitats, and also for the creation of new areas of protection wherever these habitats are found.”