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August 6, 2014

The Expedition to Cabrera and the seamounts of Ibiza

BY: Xavier Pastor



On Monday we set off from the port of Palma for the ten-day expedition, with the goal of graphically documenting and taking samples from areas that are in real need of protection.

Protection is inevitable, at least in terms of the law. Both EU and Spanish law, for example, ban trawling in areas that contain calcareous algae known as maerl, and coraligenous reefs. Other sensitive habitats such as kelp forests are also listed as threatened, and therefore must be protected. This is why Oceana is working to document these vulnerable habitats and the species that live in them, and to obtain guidelines for protective measures.

We began our work at the Fort d’en Moreu, which is a coraligenous reef to the east of Cabrera, outside the current boundaries of the National Park. This reef is an area of outstanding ecological importance that is unfortunately assaulted on a daily basis by fleets of trawlers, who completely disregard the laws that are there to protect this habitat.

On board the ship, we have an ROV (underwater camera) that is controlled from the ship’s laboratory, allowing you to view several cameras and record high-definition footage up to 1000 m deep. The images that we record will enable us to increase the available information, and endorse our proposals for protection in these areas. Hopefully, our efforts will result in the incorporation of these areas in to the National Park of Cabrera.

In the next few days, we are going to venture out to the seamounts of Ibiza. We will keep you posted!