Posidonia oceanica, at the European and national level, is already protected and its conservation, through the Decree, is based on its biological and ecological importance; as it is one of the most important marine habitats; and its geomorphological importance, as it produces sand and reduces beach erosion. It also helps mitigate climate change by capturing CO₂.
The increase in activities in our waters has led to impacts that endanger the conservation status of Posidonia, which is why we need regulations that balance human activities with the protection of the species and habitat.
This is the objective of the Decree, which consists of a preamble, thirteen articles, five additional provisions, four transitional provisions, two final provisions, and three annexes.
The Decree prohibits trawling, extraction of aggregates, dumping of dredged materials, and uncontrolled anchoring on Posidonia. It also includes new aquaculture facilities, new submarine outfalls, and new constructions in cases where the corresponding environmental process determines that they may have negative effects on Posidonia.
The use of Posidonia remains is also regulated. The removal, possession, transportation, and use of dead Posidonia remains on natural beaches without services are prohibited, except for practices intended for traditional uses and with manual methods. However, it may be authorized on natural beaches with services, determining the method and extraction areas according to the environmental and geomorphological characteristics of the site. As for urban beaches, and for socioeconomic reasons, removal is allowed following the best practices manual included in the same Decree.
On the other hand, the Posidonia Committee, a permanent advisory committee with representation from relevant administrations and sectors of interest, is created as a collegiate body. It must meet at least once every six months.
The Decree establishes that the Ministry of Environment, Agriculture, and Fisheries must map the existing Posidonia meadows in the Balearic Islands, based on the best available technical and scientific information, through an order from the Counselor. Meanwhile, the available cartographic reference is the one included in Annex 3 of the Decree, and Annex 1 catalogs the high-value and regulated Posidonia meadows, establishing the zones. The cartographic delineations and their cataloging will be incorporated into information systems accessible to sailors and the general public, as well as nautical charts.
The sanctioning regime is established through the Law for the conservation of environmentally relevant areas (LECO) and Law 42/2007, on natural heritage and biodiversity. In the first case, fines can range from 100 euros to 450,000 euros, while national regulations include 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 funded by contributions from the autonomous community, other administrations, companies, associations, etc., as well as compensatory measures for actions that affect the habitat and species.
Continuation of information and awareness-raising activities is also established, as well as the development of a monitoring plan for the overall state of the meadows.