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January 18, 2013

A very special place between Europe and Africa

© OCEANA / Juan Carlos Calvín


Located between Spain, Morocco and Algeria, the Alboran Sea is to the very West of the Western Mediterranean. If the Strait of Gibraltar can be called the gate to the Med, then the Alboran Sea is a busy hall where thousands of ships and migrating cetaceans go to and fro.

Such hectic activity in a unique location explains why it seems quite sensible to create a network of marine protected areas to better manage it. Well, this is what the International Union for the Conservation of Nature is promoting through a new report, and we’re very proud to have contributed to it. Not only did they use many photos from our expeditions, but also some of the proposals!

The Chella bank, a seamount whose rich biodiversity Oceana has unveiled thanks to 107 hours of footage filmed with an underwater robot is featured in the report. Several pages later, we find the Cablier bank, included as a priority site after we discovered a living deep-sea coral reef there with an extension of 10 hectares (24 acres), something really unusual as most of these formations have already vanished from European waters.

Closer to the coast, the IUCN proposal includes the beautiful seagrasses of Punta Entinas, the Calahonda canyons (remember the pilot whales and Risso’s dolphins we filmed there a couple of years ago?), the Placer de las Bóvedas shoal and many other places we have studied in our expeditions in Spanish waters.

So, as you may imagine, we hope that this network of protected areas turns into reality. We’ll keep pushing for it!