The marine reserve is a dream for divers. | Majorca Daily Bulletin reporter

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The Balearic goverment today approved a decree unifying the marine reserves of the islands of El Toro and Malgrats, to the southwest of Mallorca, which extends the protected area to 2,952 hectares, twelve times more than the current surface area.

The Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food, Mae de la Concha, stressed that this decision consolidates the Balearics’ leadership in the protection of marine ecosystems in Spain and brings the total area of fishing reserves to 63,000 hectares.

The decree provides for the establishment of six points around the island of El Toro and four in the Malgrats, which will be the only places where diving will be allowed, and also sets limits on the number of these dives and the number of divers authorised per day, as well as prohibiting night diving.

De la Concha recalled that the unification and extension of the reserves is a measure demanded “by both the fishing sector and conservationists” which Calvia Town Council demanded in 2020.

The pre-existing reserves have favoured a notable increase in the number and size of numerous species of fish, some of great fishing value such as groupers and corvinas, said the councillor, who explained that “the existing biomass in El Toro is the largest ever recorded anywhere in the Balearics”.

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“The union of the two reserves could be the precedent for a future expansion towards the Bay of Palma and the islets of Sec and Porrassa,” said De la Concha.

The decree regulates the permitted extractive activities of marine flora and fauna, which are professional fishing by small-gear vessels and recreational fishing and recreational shellfishing.

“Recreational fishing from land between the cove of s’ Art and Morro de’n Feliu is prohibited,” the Govern specifies in a communiqué in which it details the restrictions on diving.

The councillor explained this tightening of diving conditions as “the presence of humans in any natural habitat causes alterations”.

With the ban on night dives and restrictions on the number of divers, dives and activity points, the aim is to reduce human impact and maintain the quality of the diving on offer in the new reserve.