Posidonia Project supports the defense of Posidonia in Formentera

Anchor destroying Posidonia oceanica
Photo: Manu San Felix

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After the public denunciation, followed by an important demonstration on August 15th, lead by citizens of Formentera, amongst them the marine biologist Manu San Felix and the Scientist Carlos Duarte, of the fact that the Posidonia oceanica in Formentera is in serious danger of disappearing in three years, local authorities have promised to take steps to protect it.
The international network Posidonia Project joins the public denunciation and communicates its support to all initiatives in defense of the Posidonia of Formentera which is responsible for crystal clear water, white sand beaches and biodiversity. This attracts businesses that generate a billion euros per year in the Balearic Islands in fishing, organic matter, coastal protection and other goods and services such as tourism, mainly attracted by the beauty of the beaches.
Posidonia Project thanks all the protagonists of these initiatives for their activism as they carry out important actions with a very significant common goal, and makes its resources available to achieve the objective of reversing the reduction trend of the total area of Posidonia oceanica in the Mediterranean Sea by 2014 , starting by saving the Posidonia of Formentera, one of whose seagrass meadows is also the oldest known living being in the world (a single plant of 8 km and approximately 100,000 years of life), which has also been declared world Heritage by UNESCO.
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Official Press Release


Anchoring might destroy the posidonia in Formentera in three years

Experts estimate that a third of the meadows between Punta Pedrera and s´Espalmador have been razed

One boat only destroyed an acre of posidonia in a day. The investigator Carlos Duarte says that the effect of uncontrolled anchoring is an “intolerable aggression”. San Félix counts on regulations for anchoring in protected areas and citizen awareness.


The posidonia meadow in Formentera, which belongs to the Balearic Islands, one of the most valuable in the Mediterranean Sea, is being seriously damaged up to the point that “in three or four years, a great part of the Ses Salines Natural Park can be totally destroyed” according to the marine biologist Manu San Félix. Uncontrolled anchoring that is carried out daily by around a thousand boats between Caló de s´Oli and s´Empalmador is the main reason behind the degradation of the submarine forest that was declared a World Heritage Site by Unesco in 1999.

In spite that the meadow grows in a protected marine area and the explicit prohibition of casting down anchors onto the carpet of posidonia, thousands of boats anchor with impunity over the marine plant throughout summer. The effect of gripping, where the anchor moves along the sea bed dragging everything it finds in it´s way, is devastating vast stretches that according to San Félix are “as big as razed football fields”. That, added to the destruction that is caused by the movements of the chain that links the boat to the anchor, imply that in the last 10 years “the surface of oceanic posidonia has probably been reduced between 30 and 40 per cent in the stretch of sea that separates Punta Pedrera from Espalmador” added the biologist, that admits that “there is still inaccurate data”.

A documented example of the ravages of uncontrolled anchors is the case of the “Turama” yacht, with a length of over 100 meters, that was followed audiovisually by a team of divers led by Manu San Félix while the boat was anchored at the Ses Illetes beach the past 26th and 27th of July.

In the images you can see how the anchor, of an approximate weight of half a ton and a length of over two metres, is driven by the force of the current and rips out the posidonia from the roots, finishing off in a few minutes the reefs that took centuries to form. San Félix estimates that the Turama´s anchor destroyed 10,000 square metres of posidonia in one single day. This calculations were carried out thanks to the program that registers, via satellite, the grip of the anchor and the movement of the ship. The biologist points out that “even the smaller boats provoke great damage because there are many more” and adds that “although the vessel might have a length of ten metres, each anchor can destroy hundreds of square metres of posidonia while damaging marine species of special importance for the quality of the water such as pen shells, protected by law”.


With this critical situation of the Formentera meadow, doctor Carlos Duarte, an investigator from the Mediteranean Institute of Advanced Studies (Imedea) has issued a message in which he claims that the destruction of the posidonia is “an intolerable aggression” and reminds us that “it is the large yachts(…) of millionaires and public personalities who tolerate this aggression while they look the other way”. The expert adds that “behind this aggression there is a slackness of duties on behalf of the authorities and the public security forces, on whom responsability for the protection of this valuable heritage falls”. The scientist explains that “in the meadow reside the oldest living organisms of the planet, with cloned posidonia that could be thousands of years old” and argues that “a destroyed acre of this plant, which occurs once in one day in the waters of Formentera, requires more than 300 years to regenerate itself”. Duarte, consider the highest authority worldwide on posidonia and marine phanerogams, assures that each acre of posidonia has a capacity to convert CO2 to oxygen equal to five acres of amazon jungle.

Meanwhile, the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN), the organization that awards Unesco´s Heritage Site Awards in the environmental field, is studying reports on the Formentera meadow. This institution, stationed in Gland (Switzerland) could take away the international award from the meadow if they deem that the posidonia is no longer a natural asset.

Alternatives to the destruction

San Félix explains that to regulate anchoring on the posidonia meadows is “basic” for “any person with a minimum of sensibility”. Nonetheless, he underlines the importance of awareness about this asset: “if the people from the boats knew what was under the water, they wouldn´t anchor” and adds that this awareness should get to everyone that lives in the pine islands: “From those of us that work in the sea to students, waiters or mailmen”.

Source  Source translated

Posidonia Project aims to achieve to reverse the reduction trend of the total area of Posidonia oceanica in the Mediterranean Sea before 2014

Posidonia Project



 Posidonia    Posidonia

                                                Photo by:  ESA-European Scuba Agency     Photo by:  ESA-European Scuba Agency

Posidonia    Posidonia

                                                Photo by:  ESA-European Scuba Agency     Photo by:  ESA-European Scuba Agency

Posidonia    Posidonia

                                               Photo by:  ESA-European Scuba Agency                 Photo by: Jordi Torrent

Posidonia    Posidonia

                                                Photo by: Jordi Torrent                                  Photo by: RIP Posidonia

Posidonia    Posidonia

                                                Photo by: RIP Posidonia                                  Photo by: RIP Posidonia

Media Selection


Los yates amenazan uno de los grandes tesoros del Mediterráneo
El País

Las anclas destrozan las praderas de posidonia
El Mundo 

Oceana denunciará el deterioro de las praderas de Posidonia en Baleares

Posidonia Project se une a la denuncia para salvar la posidonia de Formentera
Diario de Ibiza 

La Pime de Formentera dice que preservar la posidonia es la clave económica
Diario de Ibiza

RIP prepara una manifestación el 17 de septiembre
Diario de Ibiza

Baleares multará a los yates que dañen el fondo marino
El País

La presión popular consigue que se rectifique en la pasividad ante la Posidonia

La Guardia Civil empieza a sancionar los fondeos en es Caló de s’Oli
Última Hora

El plan para regular el fondeo en aguas de Formentera estará en un mes
Diario de Ibiza

 Entre la indeferencia y la falta de información
Diario de Ibiza


El Pais: «Gli yacht minacciano uno dei più grandi tesori del Mediterraneo». Rischia di sparire la posidonia di Formentera

Spagna: Formentera, lotta a yacht che distruggono poseidonia 

Formentera, Posidonia oceanica a rischio estinzione

Posidonia di Formentera rischia l’estinzione in pochi anni

Posidonia, poco chic ma eco preziosa
Fiori e Foglie – TGCOM

Un grido si alza dal Mediterraneo: “Salviamo la posidonia oceanica!”

RIP Posidonia Formentera 2011 

Rescat Immediat Posidònia

300 personas piden en Formentera protección para la posidonia

Diario de Ibiza

300 persone in cerca di protezione per le Posidonia di Formentera
Formentera Travel

Dentro de cuatro años queremos optar a ser Reserva de la Biosfera
Diario de Ibiza


El Govern dice no tener dinero para vigilar fondeos en el Parque Natural
Diario de Ibiza

Las VPO de Formentera incorporarán posidonia autóctona como aislante
Última Hora

Deterioro de las praderas oceánicas

Posidonia Festival