The Supreme Court has upheld the Balearic Government’s appeal to have total control of the external waters of Cabrera National Maritime-Terrestrial Park.
Balearic lawyers filed an appeal in July 2019 against the second and third paragraphs of the third paragraph of the operative part of the Agreement of the Council of Ministers of February 1, 2019, by which the limits of the Maritime-Terrestrial National Park of the Cabrera Archipelago were extended with the incorporation of maritime areas adjacent to it.
In this section, it was specified that the management of external marine waters corresponded to the General Administration of the State and that there was no scientific evidence to support ecological continuity with the terrestrial ecosystem.
The Balearic Government argued that it should manage Cabrera National Park, not the State, because the power to do so was transferred to the Balearics in 2009.
The Executive insisted that the expansion of the park was a direct consequence of the Autonomous Community, which promoted the expansion and that the Board of Trustees of the Park had adopted the agreement in 2011.
On October 5, 2018 the Government Council supported the Ministry for Ecological Transition’s initiative to expand the park boundaries. The lawyers argued that the Autonomous Community has been managing the National Park since the previous delimitation of the park, including external waters.
The Balearic Government's appeal also exposed a contradiction in the Council of Ministers’ agreement, referring to the fact that there is no scientific evidence to support the ecological continuity of the terrestrial ecosystem with the marine ecosystem.
The lawyers pointed out that since 2015 the ecological continuity has been recognised in different reports including those by the Ministry of Agriculture, Food & Environment and the Spanish Institute of Oceanography, prior to the approval of the Natura 2000 Management Plan for Cabrera and also has the backing of scientists.
The expansion of the protected area in February 2019 increased Cabrera National Park by 80,779 marine hectares to 90,800 marine hectares, making it the largest National Park in the Mediterranean.
The Ministry for Ecological Transition considered the expansion a priority because amongst other things, it helps to ensure the protection objectives set by current legislation, since 11 of the 13 natural marine systems that the Law of National parks requires are incorporated in the National Parks Network.
There are also two more which until then were not present in the network: the deep banks of coral and the areas of passage, reproduction or habitual presence of cetaceans or large migratory fish.
Minister Miquel Mir will now assess the scope of the sentence and endorse the expansion promoted by the Community.