Within the last year three new MPAs have been declared by the Balearic Government; the marine reserve of Punta de sa Creu in Formentera, the marine reserve of Tagomago in Ibiza, and most recently the marine reserve of Illa de L’aire in Menorca. All together, there are now eleven MPAs in the Balearic Islands making up a total of 63.000 hectares.
Positive results are seen in existing marine protected areas (MPAs). Since receiving protected status in 2004 the marine reserve of El Toro has seen a seven fold increase in fish biomass in 10 years, making it one of the areas with the highest biomass in the Mediterranean. Similar results have been seen in the marine reserve of Llevant de Mallorca, where vulnerable fish species have multiplied by between four to eight times between 2008 and 2018 and, in specific areas of the reserve they have almost doubled in as little as two years!
In addition to that, in the beginning of the year, the protected marine area attached to the National Park of the Archipelago of Cabrera was amplified from 10.000 to 90.974 hectares to include areas of importance for deep sea corals, whales and dolphins, migratory fish species and sea birds. Other species in the protected zone include the loggerhead turtle and several shark species that are endangered or in critical risk of extinction in the Mediterranean. While at Save The Med we continue our work for the creation of a Network of efficient MPAs, we applaud these new declarations which make up an important steps towards the regeneration of the Balearic Sea.
The Reserve effect – a shining example from the Balearics
Recently, a film crew from Estrella Damm visited Majorca to film the work being done to protect the Balearic Sea. With eleven marine protected areas and one maritime-terrestrial national park the Balearic Islands are a prime example of just how much can be done when we come together for a greater cause.
Toni Grau, Head of Marine Resources at Govern de les Illes Balears, took the Estrella Damm film crew for a visit to the marine reserve of Freu de Sa Dragonera while explaining the values of effective marine protection. Save The Med’s marine biologist and Head of MPA’s Miguel Pozo, and underwater filmmaker Fernando Garfella, showed the team how Save The Med works to identify critical areas, document their state and develop proposals for their protection that are presented to the government.
The result of the expeditions is a short film and a story named ‘The Reserve effect’ which can be found on Estrella Damm’s website, and of course linked on Save The Med’s Facebook page and website under the news section. This short film highlights the values of marine protected areas as well as the importance of citizen support and collaborations with NGOs that work with governments to ensure that the number of marine reserves continues to grow along the Mediterranean coast. Watch it online to learn more.
“It would have been impossible to set up 11 marine reserves without majority support from the citizenship” – Toni Grau, Head of Marine Resources GOIB
Encouraging reduction of plastic pollution during the Palma Superyacht Show
The annual Palma Superyacht Show filled Palma with visitors between 27th of April and 1st of May. Due to its’ direct impact on and dependency of the oceans, the yachting community is one of the key stakeholders when it comes to marine regeneration, one that has great power to ignite a significant change in human relationship with the sea.
While much work remains to be done, it has been encouraging to see the growing interest in topics related to the health and care of the marine environment during the event, and the wish of many to give something back to the oceans that sustain us.
Our good friends from Cleanwave were on site with The Rocket, an enormous bottle transported on wheels that provides clean drinking water to all thirsty visitors and with that reduces the demand for single use plastic water bottles, while Hannah from Viveco shared ideas and offered reusable products that help reduce plastic waste generation onboard yachts.
Several of Save The Med’s Corporate Partners from the yachting industry, including Oyster Yachts, e3 systems, Burgess and A2B Maritime, worked with us to raise awareness and spread the word about our work for the regeneration of the Mediterranean Sea while SuperYacht Charities fundraised to support local charities, including Save The Med.
We wish thank all those who actively work to put these important topics in focus and who work to help change mind-sets, habits and policies to facilitate and implement positive change. That’s what #SaveTheMedGeneration is all about!