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Marine reserves and protected areas



Marine reserves and protected areas

Marine reserves were created to achieve sustainable exploitation of fishery resources. These areas must have certain characteristics that allow the reproduction of species of fishing interest and the survival of their juvenile forms.

How do marine reserves work?

The positive effect of a marine reserve is manifested by the significant recovery of the fishing grounds in which it is inserted. Thus, it achieves the regeneration of fishery resources by protecting their reproduction and dispersion.

Purpose of marine reserves

They are created for the protection, regeneration and development of resources of fishing interest. In this way the artisanal fisheries of the area are maintained, preserving a traditional way of life.

Marine reserves in Spain

Currently, in Spain we have 11 marine reserves.

Cabo de Gata

It is located in the province of Almería, at the foot of the Sierra de Cabo de Gata. It stretches off the coast, occupying an area of ​​4613 hectares. It also includes the protected waters of the Natural Park of Cabo de Gata, Níjar.

Rocky and sandy surfaces alternate in the bottoms. And it houses the southernmost meadows of Oceanic Posidonia.


Cape of Palos-Ants Islands

It has 1931 hectares that extend to Cabo de Palos, on the coast of Murcia. They alternate the rocky and sandy bottoms and the grasslands of Oceanic Posidonia.

Tiny Cape

Located in the region of Murcia, it is located south of Cartagena and has an area of ​​1173.79 hectares. The environment of Cabo Tiñoso offers great ecological potential by having seagrass beds, submerged caves or artificial reefs.

Dive among coral reefs in marine reserves.

Lift of Mallorca-Cala Rajada

It is located north of the Coast of Levante of the Island of Mallorca and in the outer waters of the area.

Alboran Island

It is located in the southern Mediterranean of Almería, occupying an area of ​​1650 hectares around the island of Alborán. The bottoms are varied and abrupt. And from 60 meters deep there are laminaria brown seaweed forests.

Columbretes Islands

Located about 30 nautical miles from the Grao de Castellón, it is composed of four groups of islets and some pitfalls and low. The marine reserve covers an area of ​​5543 hectares.

Parrotfish swimming in a coral reef.

Graciosa Island

This marine reserve extends in the Atlantic, covering the North of the island of Lanzarote, the Graciosa and other islets. With this reserve the protection already existing in the land – Natural Park of the Archipelago of Chinijo – is extended to the marine environment.

Tabarca Island

Located in front of the Port of Santa Pola, in Alicante. It has, as a whole, a total area of ​​1754 hectares.

It houses meadows of Oceanic Posidonia in an optimal state of conservation, which favors the regeneration of the fishing resources of the area.

La Palma Island

This marine reserve reaches 1000 m deep and extends over 3455 hectares on the south western coast of the island of La Palma. The authorities found the area suitable for its biodiversity, the state of the fishing interest populations and the possibility of their recovery.

Fish from marine reserves.

Punta de la Restinga-Mar de las Calmas

It is located in the Atlantic, at the southwestern end of the island of El Hierro. It reaches great depths of more than 300 meters as it is the island of volcanic origin. It has an area of ​​750 hectares.

White Farmhouse

This is a small marine reserve of 457 hectares located on the Mediterranean coast, about 30 kilometers north of Tarragona. This reserve protects rocky bars of high biodiversity and areas of fry.

The Network of Marine Protected Areas of Spain (RAMPE)

The figure of “marine protected area” was created by Law 42/2007 on Natural Heritage and Biodiversity.

An octopus swimming in the marine reserves.

As for the general objectives of RAMPE, they are the following:

  • Ensure the conservation and recovery of natural heritage and marine biodiversity.
  • Protect and conserve the areas that best represent the species, habitat and ecological processes in the seas.
  • Promote the conservation of ecological corridors and the management of those elements that are essential in the waters.

Marine reserves as part of RAMPE

According to Law 41/2010 on the Protection of the Marine Environment, all protected areas located in waters under Spanish sovereignty will be integrated into RAMPE.

This includes:

  • The Natura 2000 Network.
  • Other protected natural spaces.
  • The areas protected by international instruments
  • And finally, the marine reserves

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