The Malgrats off Calvia. | Majorca Daily Bulletin reporter - T. DIEZ

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The Balearic government is coming under mounting pressure to expand the El Toro and Malgrats marine reserves.

Conservation and environmental groups Friends of the Earth, GOB, Greenpeace, MallorcaBlue, Marilles, Oceana, Save the Med and the World Wildlife Fund, have joined forces to ramp up the pressure on the local authorities to expand the marines reserves to include the Isla del Seco.

Today, in a joint statement, the organisations said that current plans to expand the protected marine area by the Ministry for Fisheries and Agriculture “do not go far enough.” They said that the respect the ministry’s intention to further protect the area’s economic, ecological and social benefits but the plan “needs to be more ambitious.”

The environmental groups have recommended that the expansion of the protected areas includes the Cabo de Cala Figuera Marine Area because of the vast amount of posidonia, Neptune grass or Mediterranean tapeweed, which is a seagrass species that is endemic to the Mediterranean.

It forms large underwater meadows that are an important part of the ecosystem.
The fruit is free floating and known in Italy as “the olive of the sea” (l’oliva di mare).
Balls of fibrous material from its foliage, known as egagropili or Neptune balls, wash up to nearby shorelines.

The posidonia has a very high carbon absorption capacity, being able to soak up 15 times more carbon dioxide every year than a similar sized piece of the Amazon rainforest, which is why the environmentalists want the marine reserve to be expanded.
According to the organisations, in 2012, the Ministry for Fisheries and Agriculture presented a plan to declare the Isla del Seca a protected marine reserve, but nothing ever came of it and they want the ministry to revive its efforts.

The marine reserves of El Toro and the Malgrats isles highlight the absolute commitment to conservation of the marine environment, but environmentalists want to see the ministry step up its efforts to protect marine life in the Balearics.

Mallorca currently has six marine reserves. The others are the bay of Palma, the Marina del Migjorn that covers a wide area of southern Mallorca, the island of Dragonera off Andratx, and the Marina del Llevant in the northeast.