Oceana discovers new areas of coral on the seamounts of the Balearic Islands

Press Release Date: September 4, 2015

Location: Madrid


Marta Madina | email: mmadina@oceana.org | tel.: Marta Madina

The international marine conservation organization has also documented a great biological wealth in the funds of Sa Dragonera, which should be kept

The international organization of Oceana marine conservation has published a report with the results of its 2014 Balearic Islands expedition, on the seamounts of the channel of Mallorca (Ausiàs March, Emile Baudot and Ses Olives) and other marine areas in the Balearic Islands. The main goal of the expedition was to document deep marine areas never before explored in these mountains, which has allowed to discover areas covered by corals and other habitats of great natural and scientific relevance and, in some cases, rarely filmed in the Mediterranean. 

“We have found areas with habitats and species of high ecological value that the Government must protect and manage appropriately. Activities such as bottom trawling by fleets based in ports of the Peninsula are putting at risk its conservation “, says Ricardo Aguilar, research director of Oceana in Europe. “The data reinforce our proposal to create a large marine protected area covering the three seamounts of the channel of Mallorca, Ausiàs March, Emile Baudot and Ses Olives. The expedition also highlighted the need for protection of waters and seabed adjacent to Sa Dragonera”.

On the seamounts of the channel of Mallorca 13 dives were conducted and numerous biological samples using a submersible robot and a Van Veen dredge. During the interesting findings, occurred as a forest of black coral, rocky areas with mixed gardens depth gorgonians and soft bottoms with large bamboo coral colonies. In addition, were discovered very unusual habitats, such as aggregations of sponge rock or a field of tubes of small Amphipod crustaceans, habitats where there are very few previous records in the Mediterranean.  

The expedition included research in other areas. Among them, Oceana is biological richness found in surrounding funding to the island of Sa Dragonera, were where filmed Rocky communities of sponges and coral outcrops yellow tree. Following this, Oceana has developed a specific proposal for the protection of its waters which has received the support of affected sectors, such as the diving clubs. Also, the municipality of Andratx and the Balearic Government have advanced a conversion project in reserve marine waters of Sa Dragonera under regional competition.

Report: Expedition 2014 Balearic Islands