The port in Ciutadella. | Josep Bagur Gomila

Ecologist organisation Terraferida is calling on the Balearic government to halt port growth as envisaged by the new general plan for ports.

The number of moorings is set to increase from 24,020 to 27,131, with five per cent of this growth for permanent moorings. In addition, a government estimate for the number of boats is 36,745 by 2033, an increase of 22.4% compared with 2017, the year used as reference in the plan.

Terraferida believe that the philosophy of the plan is "especially worrying" in that it favours increasingly larger and more impressive vessels which treat the sea as a business, something to be commercialised as much as possible. This is despite the fact that this will mean a further limiting of traditional uses and small boats and increased nautical pressure on bathing areas for local people and tourists.

Moreover, the envisaged growth contradicts typical communications by the regional government's Ports IB authority. It seeks to convey a green image that does not correspond to the plan. The ecologists reckon that the authority is convinced that no one will actually read the plan. "Our concern and that of many groups is the huge negative impact on marine ecosystems, which are already subject to excessive pressure."

The Balearic government should commit to "not growing anything, to zero moorings and to eliminating the illegal ones - more than 1,000". A "mercantilist vision of the sea" should be abandoned, and public institutions should "defend marine ecosystems and traditional uses" instead of making the coastline the privilege of the richest.