Posidonia oceanica is an endemic seagrass of the Mediterranean Sea, of extraordinary biological importance, which forms extensive meadows around the Balearic Islands, with a surface area of more than 650 km2. It is the most widespread marine vegetation on the coastline, between 0 and 35 m deep, reaching up to 43 m in the Cabrera Archipelago Maritime-Terrestrial National Park.
Posidonia, at the European and state level, is already protected and conservation, through the Decree, is based on its biological and ecological importance, since it is one of the most important marine habitats; geomorphological, since it produces sand and reduces beach erosion, and mitigates climate change, since it captures CO2.
The increase in uses in our waters has brought out impacts that endanger the state of conservation of the posidonia, for which a regulation is necessary that makes the existence of human activities compatible with the protection of the species and the habitat.
The Decree prohibits trawling on posidonia, the extraction of aggregates, the dumping of dredged materials and uncontrolled anchoring. Likewise, new aquaculture facilities, new submarine outfalls and new works are included in this regime in those cases in which the corresponding environmental processing determines that they may have negative effects on posidonia.
The use to be made of the posidonia remains is also regulated. The removal, possession, transport and use of dead seagrass remains on natural beaches without services is prohibited, with the exception of practices destined for traditional uses and with manual methods. Instead, it can be authorized in natural beaches with services determining the method and extraction zones according to the environmental and geomorphological characteristics of the site. With respect to urban beaches, and for socio-economic reasons, withdrawal is allowed following the manual of good practices contained in the same Decree.
On the other hand, the Posidonia Committee is created as a collegiate body, a permanent advisory committee with representation from the administrations and interested sectors, which must meet at least once every six months.
The Decree establishes that the Ministry of the Environment, Agriculture and Fisheries has to map the posidonia meadows existing in the Balearic Islands, in accordance with the best technical and scientific information available, by means of an order from the councilor. Meanwhile, the cartographic reference available is the one contained in annex 3 of the Decree, and annex 1 catalogs the high-value posidonia meadows and to regulate and establish the zones. The cartographic delimitations and their cataloging will be incorporated into information systems accessible to navigators and the general public, and in nautical charts.
The sanctioning regime is established by means of the Law for the conservation of areas of environmental relevance (LECO) and by Law 42/2007, of natural heritage and biodiversity. In the first case, the sanctions can be from 100 euros to 450,000, while the state regulations collect fines from 100 to 2 million euros.
On the other hand, the Decree also provides for the creation of the Posidonia Fund, which will be nourished by the contributions made by the Autonomous Community, other administrations, companies, associations, etc., and by compensatory measures for actions that affect the habitat and the species. .
It also establishes the continuation of the informative and awareness-raising task, in addition to the elaboration of a monitoring plan of the general state of the meadows.
Govern de les Illes Balears, Conselleria de Medi Ambient, Agricultura i Pesca, Direcció general d’Espais Naturals i Biodiversitat
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