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June 12, 2008

Os Miñarzos fishing reserve




We departed at 6:00 a.m. from Portosín port. We headed towards an unnamed seamount located quite near the Villar de Fuertes mount. We want to get there early to avoid the north winds that pick up in the afternoon and force us to stop working. The seamount is very steep on its southern slope. Here, we find a sandy bottom first, then a rocky bottom harbouring a wide variety of species: holothurians, sea urchins, sponges, various types of fish, including a monkfish on the prowl, streaked gurnards, scorpionfish, bluemouth rockfish, etc. The rocks seem to be completely covered in brachipods and red, white and even green jewel anemones (Corynactis viridis). And a lot of black coral (Antipathes sp.), which has practically disappeared from all of its shallow habitats because it is harvested to make jewellery. We also spot a dead common dolphin, in advanced state of decomposition, covered in sea urchins taking advantage of the meal. After we finished with the ROV, we submerged the CTD, a machine that allows us to measure salinity, light, chlorophyll, turbidity and water temperature.

In the afternoon, we reached the port of Lira, for a meeting with the General Secretary of the Fishermen’s Association. The fishermen from Lira are requesting that this area be designated as a marine protected area. Thanks to their request and through Decree 87/2007 from 12 April, the Os Miñarzos marine fishing reserve was created. The fishermen actively participate in the management of the reserve. Along with the Secretary, we also invited Elisa Gago on board, the Chief of Management Services of Os Miñarzos. We took them to the southern area of the reserve and will carry out a dive there. We took some wonderful photographs of the state of the reserve’s bottoms and, once edited, we will donate them to the Regional Government and the Association.


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