Oceana reports illegal trawling activities in southern Majorca

Ecosystems protected by EU and Spanish regulations are being devastated by illegal trawling.

Press Release Date: October 30, 2012

Location: Madrid


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Oceana has asked the Spanish Government and the regional Balearic government to effectively protect the coralligenous and  maërl seabeds near Cabrera.

Oceana has warned the Spanish General Secretary for Fisheries, Carlos Domínguez, and the Councillor for Agriculture, the Environment, and the Territory in the Balearics, Gabriel Company, about the continued illegal trawling activities in the coralligenous and maërl areas around Cabrera. These formations of calcareous red algae are recognised as protected habitats by Spanish and international regulations, and their existence is under serious threat by these activities in Southern Majorca, in the Migjorn Reservation and to the east of the Cabrera National Park, in the area known as Fort den Moreu.

Trawling poses a serious threat to their conservation and to that of the species which depend on it, such as hake, lobster, and red mullet. For this reason, Oceana demands that the Government finally enforces the applicable legislation, namely the Mediterranean Regulation and the Comprehensive Plan for Management of Mediterranean resources, and expressly bans trawling in areas where these habitats are found.

“We have demanded effective protection for these habitats for years, given their environmental and fishing significance, and because it is a legal obligation under EU and Spanish regulations, which recognise them as protected habitats”, says oceanographer Xavier Pastor, Executive Director of Oceana in Europe. “Maërl and coralligenous beds are a source of fishing wealth in the Mediterranean, as proven by many studies, some of which even conducted by the Balearic Government, the Spanish National Research Country (CSIC) and the Spanish Institute of Oceanography (IEO). Even though trawling is illegal, these important seabeds, which should be a part of the Cabrera National Park, are being destroyed by the passivity of the Spanish and regional governments”.

The area is also home to other essential, sensitive habitats of interest for the fishing industry, such as squid spawning grounds, and crinoid fields, which have been described by the United Nations as habitats that must be managed to maintain healthy and robust fisheries.

Further information: Cabrera