Oceana calls on the Balearic Government once again to continue advancing in marine conservation

Gabriel Company, the Regional Minister for Agriculture and Environment, met with Xavier Pastor, director of Oceana, who encouraged him to continue working to protect the seamounts of Mallorca and Ibiza and achieve the expansion of Cabrera National Park.

Press Release Date: July 7, 2011

Location: Madrid


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Xavier Pastor met with the Regional Minister of Agriculture, Environment and Territory, Gabriel Company, this morning for the first time since the constitution of the new Balearic government after the last regional elections. Oceana’s director put forward two proposals in late stages of development. The international marine conservation organization believes the Balearic government must continue to promote and foster these proposals. The proposals include the expansion of Cabrera National Park and the protection of the seamounts between Mallorca and Ibiza.

The expansion of Cabrera National Park was initially backed by the park’s board of trustees, comprised of representatives from all the administrations, the fishing sector, conservation organizations, public marine research organizations and other social sectors. During the June 10th meeting, the members of the board unanimously approved calling on the Regional Council of Agriculture and Environment to finish the environmental research work and legal counselling to expand Cabrera’s marine area.

“This issue shouldn’t involve partisan politics. The process to expand Cabrera National Park began five years ago with the Popular Party’s government and has continued during the Progress Pact. Now it should culminate with the new government,” declared Pastor. “None of the island’s political parties have ever been opposed to the expansion and we hope this attitude prevails.”

According to the spokesperson of the conservation organization, Cabrera National Park benefits all social sectors: professional and recreational fishermen, sailors, scientists, hotels and nautical tourism, as well as successfully completing its main function, the recovery of the ecosystems of Cabrera archipelago.

The second issue raised by Xavier Pastor during his meeting with Regional Minister Gabriel Company was related to the seamounts between Mallorca and Ibiza (Emile Baudot, Ses Olives and Ausias March) and their designation as a Marine Protected Area. The Regional and Central Governments already reached an initial agreement on the protection of these areas of ecological importance; in fact it is the Central Government who has competence over these waters.

These seamounts harbor high levels of biodiversity that should be protected because the Spanish government is required to protect at least 10% of its marine areas within the framework of European legislation and the United Nations Convention on Biological Diversity. To date, the Balearic Islands have protected just over 4% of its waters. Oceana believes that designating the seamounts of the Channel of Mallorca a Marine Protected Area and expanding Cabrera National Park would constitute important steps toward the achievement of the required percentage. According to Oceana, these areas also serve as a reserve for the regeneration of fishery resources, while increasing marine biodiversity, an aspect that would also benefit the growing recreational diving and “no kill” fishing tourism sector.

Tomorrow, Oceana will present its most recent report on the research completed on the seamounts of Mallorca during expeditions on board the Oceana Ranger and Marviva Med.

The Regional Minister of Agriculture and Environment, Gabriel Company, agreed to study the documentation provided by Pastor and to continue meeting with Oceana and other representatives to advance in the discussion of these and other proposals made by the conservation organization.