Local community gets involved in Sa Dragonera reserve

Published 26.02.2021


Local community gets involved in Sa Dragonera reserve

Local community gets involved in Sa Dragonera reserve

Marilles and Save the Med renew their commitment to the marine reserve

40 businesses, shops, artists and individuals get involved in the Xarxa Dragonera Blava network

The Blue Dragonera Network is a network of businesses, organisations and individuals from Sant Elm, Port Andratx and other urban sections of the area who are committed to the conservation of the Sa Dragonera marine reserve.

The Blue Dragonera Network is born from the “Get to Know your Marine Protected Area, Sa Dragonera” project, led by Save the Med with the support of the Marilles Foundation, to encourage the connection between the marine reserve and the local community. Since its launch in 2019, they’ve organised various events and activities: photographic exhibitions, educational workshops and informative meetings to promote the protected marine space to residents and visitors alike. The recent expansion of the marine reserve to external waters, approved in October 2020, makes this even more necessary.

From a feeling of pride to action

After this first test phase, Marilles has renewed it support to Save the Med with € 75,000 to extend the project into 2021. The objective now is to work in a more proactive way in order to go from awareness to action. In the next few months, specific measures – that local groups can adopt so they can become the guardians of Sa Dragonera – will be outlined.

Blanca Cot, President of the Sant Elm Commerce Association, tells us: “My grandmother used to say that sea water is medicine, and to be able to enjoy it is the best thing we have. The fact that  Sa Dragonera is a reserve gives me peace. There is still much to do, but every single one of our actions is important”.

José Rodríguez, owner of Mallorca Diving Adventure in Port d’Andratx, believes that: “Caring for and protecting marine reserves is beneficial for future generations. Since the protection of Sa Dragonera began, the number of sightings of tuna, dolphins and other species that are usually hard to spot has increased. The best way to conserve the health of our planet is to create more protective areas and respect the existing ones”.

Iwona Pakula, who works in the cultural management of Andratx, tells us: “Thanks to my printing workshops for children, I have been able to collaborate in the project; now I appreciate the value of the marine reserve even more”. She adds, “I’d always thought that the responsibility for caring for reserves was someone else’s. Now that I live near Sa Dragonera I know that its good state depends on every one of us, and I am more aware of the impact we cause”.

Pilar Gómez, director of the Sa Dragonera Natural Park, says: “We work with Save the Med to promote education and awareness in society; our aim is for citizens from a variety of social environments to contribute to the protection of the environment”.

Brad Robertson, president  of Save the Med, adds:“As well as vigilance and a scientific follow-up of the marine reserve, the proactive involvement of the community is what will make the difference when regenerating the marine ecosystems of Sa Dragonera. There is a growing interest in this reserve, and many initiatives are starting up from many sectors in the town of Andratx. The objective is to channel them and take the next steps together in order to achieve positive results”.

Aniol Esteban, director of the Marilles Foundation, concludes: “Protecting the marine floor of Sa Dragonera brings many benefits to the local community; it promotes fishing productivity, sustains multiple economic activities and is a source of recreation and wellness. None of this would be possible without local involvement. Examples like Sa Dragonera remind us that marine conservation should be a pillar in the strategy for the economic recovery of the Balearic Islands.”