Posidonia meadows are said to be harmed by anchors. | Archive

Various organisations have raised a petition to urge the acceleration of approval for the regional environment ministry's decree for protecting posidonia sea grass. The petition consists of the signatures of over 200 people - national and international - who are specialists in marine science and research.

A presentation of a "manifesto" seeking the speeding-up of the decree was given on Thursday by Isabel Moreno of Amics de la Terra (Friends of the Earth), Toni Muñoz of GOB and Joan Moranta of fellow environmentalists Terraferida. A message was that the loss of posidonia meadows is a well-known fact so it is urgent that action is taken against anchoring and spillage.

Posidonia is said to be disappearing at an alarming rate in the Mediterranean. Fifty per cent of the sea grass in Spanish Mediterranean waters is around the Balearics. Factors causing the decline, other than anchoring and spillage, include sand extraction, coastal development and climate change. The consequences of the loss are a decrease in fishing areas, a deterioration in water quality, a loss of sand and greater coastal erosion.

In the bay of Pollensa, meanwhile, a project has been started to restore two hectares of posidonia meadow. It involves Red Electrica (the company equivalent to the National Grid in the UK) and the Mediterranean Institute of Advanced Studies, which is based in Majorca. Posidonia fragments are being planted in an area off Punta de l'Avançada on the Formentor promontory.

The project also has the backing of the regional government and the national ministry of defence, which is allowing facilities at the base in Puerto Pollensa to be used. Red Electrica is contributing half a million euros to a four-year scheme to plant almost 13,000 posidonia fragments.