Oceana proposes to improve the order for the protection of the Channel of Menorca and the canyons in the Gulf of Lions

The organisation has made representations during the public participation process of the Ministerial Order to declare the first areas under the INDEMARES project.

Press Release Date: November 11, 2013

Location: Madrid


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The proposal is based on the inclusion of European fisheries regulations governing the protection of vulnerable Mediterranean ecosystems.

Oceana has submitted to the Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Environment (MAGRAMA) a series of representations regarding the Draft Ministerial Order proposing the declaration of 4 new Sites of Community Importance (SCI). The representations are directed at an improvement in the system of preventative protection (general rules until the final management plan is approved) which will apply to the SCI “Channel of Menorca” and the “Western system of submarine canyons in the Gulf of Lions”.

In both areas the Spanish Institute of Oceanography (IEO) and the Council for Scientific Research (CSIC) have carried out detailed mapping of the presence of coralligenous seabeds and maerl. Both ecosystems are considered particularly vulnerable and coralligenous seabeds are protected under the Habitats Directive within the category “Reefs”.

“As vulnerable ecosystems, in 2006 the maerl and coralligenous seabeds were classified as ‘Protected Habitats’ under the Mediterranean Regulation, and trawling was prohibited in the areas where they are found. For this reason, it is necessary that this Regulation is included in the Order of the declaration, to give the fisheries regulations the importance that they deserve in the management of future protected areas,” affirms Xavier Pastor, Executive Director of Oceana Europe, adding: “The unification work that has been carried out by the INDEMARES team, assembling the fisheries sector in various participatory workshops, should also be reflected in this way.”

Oceana has already pointed out the importance that these advances in the declaration of new marine protected areas have for the conservation of the Spanish seas, and congratulated MAGRAMA by means of a press release.

Once the Order is approved, these SCI, fruit of the LIFE+ INDEMARES project, will become part of the Nature 2000 network, whose objective is to maintain or re-establish a good state of conservation for habitats and species that are of Community interest. They also represent an important step in completing the network of protected marine areas in Spanish waters in accordance with the Habitats Directive.

Oceana’s representations