The Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food will allocate 3.5 million euros to modernise the equipment of the Network of Marine Reserves of Fishing Interest, within the Recovery, Transformation and Resilience Plan (PRTR), with the aim of ensuring the control and surveillance of the activities carried out in them.
With this investment, the ministry will acquire two specialised vessels, thermal cameras with GPS and drones, which will enable the rationalisation of available resources, improve monitoring, increase the surveillance capacity of the vessels, and reduce emissions of polluting gases.
It is also planned to purchase a radio link to enhance the performance of the Alboran Island radar from the facilities of the Maritime Action Operations and Surveillance Centre (COVAM), and remotely operated underwater vehicles (ROVs) for scientific monitoring of the reserves.
Marine Reserve Network
The main objective of the Network of Marine Reserves of Fishing Interest is the conservation and regeneration of autochthonous fishing resources. Thanks to proper management, they contribute to maintaining small-scale professional fishing, while favouring other sustainable activities, such as recreational diving.
At present, the network of reserves is made up of 12 areas: Cabo de Gata – Níjar, Cabo de Palos – Islas Hormigas, Cabo Tiñoso, Levante de Mallorca – Cala Rajada, La Dragonera, Isla de Alborán, Islas Columbretes, Isla Graciosa, Isla de Tabarca, La Palma, La Restinga – Mar de las Calmas, and Masía Blanca. In total, Spain has 105,243 hectares of Marine Reserves of Fishing Interest, of which 10,162 hectares are integral areas.
The marine reserves are created by the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food on the basis of requests from the artisanal sector and updated scientific information, and form the Network of Marine Reserves of Spain. In their 37 years of existence, they have demonstrated the good results of zoning, management plans and surveillance, as well as the compatibility of fishing and recreational uses. These reserves are recognised by the European Union’s Marine Strategy Framework Directive for their contribution to Good Environmental Status (GES).
In this sense, they are one of the main exponents of the ministry’s Blue Growth policy. Their management is inspired by an ecosystem approach to fisheries, which allows for responsible fishing activities while monitoring their habitat, thus contributing to better knowledge and public awareness.
Responsible recreational diving
In addition to supporting fisheries or ecosystem protection, marine reserves facilitate the exercise of environmental quality activities such as tourism and certain leisure activities, such as recreational diving.
Recreational diving in marine reserves is regulated in order to provide a quality experience and to make the conservation of marine areas compatible with the necessary awareness of the diver in the enjoyment of this leisure activity.