Spanish Government Announces Second Largest Mediterranean MPA
The Spanish government has announced that it is to extend the Cabrera National Park maritime-terrestrial protected area to cover 90,794 hectares of the Mediterranean Sea. The park will be extended to cover nine times its existing area, making, it the second-largest in the Mediterranean, behind the Greek National Marine Park of Alonnisos Northern Sporades.
Situated in the south of Mallorca, the Maritime-Terrestrial National Park of the Cabrera Archipelago was created in 1991. The expansion will offer the 'highest level of legal protection for threatened marine life, including corals, dolphins and whales,' according to a press release from environmental campaign group Oceana. The decision to expand the Cabrera MPA follows a decade of advocacy and six expeditions by the international marine conservation organisation
'Today will be a great day for the Mediterranean and for international ocean conservation,' said Ricardo Aguilar, Research and Expeditions Director at Oceana in Europe. 'Cabrera National Park is home to a huge diversity of ecosystems and marine life, and is a perfect example of the underwater natural heritage that we want to keep for generations to come.'
'This is this first time that Spain has given the maximum legal protection to deep-sea corals and to areas home to marine mammals such as sperm whales and dolphins, to yellow tree corals, and to large fish like bluefin tuna, among others,' said Marta Carreras, marine scientist at Oceana. 'The enlargement will also give top environmental safeguard to other species such as devil rays, and the Critically Endangered Balearic shearwater,' she added.
Oceana has been working to expand the park since 2007, when the marine conservation organisation made its first of six expeditions to study the area’s deep-sea waters and marine life. In 2013, Oceana joined Cabrera’s board of trustees and, in 2017, achieved an 'unprecedented parliamentary consensus' with almost all of Spain's political parties supporting the expansion of the park.
Oceana continues to campaign to increase the marine area of other Spanish National Parks, including the declaration of the first exclusively marine National Park in El Hierro (Canary Islands) and the expansion of the marine area of Doñana (Andalusia).
Learn more about Oceana's ongoing efforts throughout the world at www.oceana.org