Located in front of the coast of Almeria (southeast Spain), the Chella Bank (Seco de los Olivos in Spanish) is a seamount whose top is found at a depth of 80 metres. It is a set of elevations that houses a very rich biodiversity, including deep-sea coral reefs, cetaceans, sharks and lots of fish. Oceana is responsible for documenting this area as a partner of the LIFE+ INDEMARES project of the European Union, with the objective of turning it into a protected marine area within the Natura 2000 Network.
In the frame of this project, Oceana has obtained never before seen images of the bank with an underwater robot (ROV). As well as these videos, which reach 600 metres depth, the on board diaries which are identified with the logo LIFE+ INDEMARES illustrate the main findings of the 2010, 2011and 2012expeditions and also explain the threats presented by aggressive fishing and rubbish.
Oceana first documented Chella Bank in 2006and the following year found in these waters the first carnivorous sponge observed in Spain. All the details put together up to now demonstrate that this site in the Alboran sea is an ecologically important area within the Mediterranean and it is necessary to protect it.