The fishermen of Ibiza: Ambassadors for sustainable fishing and marine reserves

Published 01.10.2020


The fishermen of Ibiza: Ambassadors for sustainable fishing and marine reserves

The fishermen of Ibiza: Ambassadors for sustainable fishing and marine reserves

The Guild of Ibiza Fishermen and the Marilles Foundation are renewing a project to accelerate the transition to sustainable fishing and give greater visibility to the island's marine reserves.

The results of the pilot project "Mare Nostrum: Reserve for the future" –  led by the Guild of Ibiza Fishermen and financed by the Marilles Foundation – have been positive, well-received and have achieved high levels of participation from both the fishermen and the local population. This is why the Marilles Foundation has committed itself to the project by renewing its support with €50,000 for next year.

Over the last twelve months, the fishermen of Ibiza has carried out activities with schools, fishermen and the general public to raise awareness of the Es Freus and Tagomago marine reserves, their location and uses, as well as the benefits they bring on an economic, social and environmental level. The project has focused on promoting the connection between the reserves and the public, and on creating a sense of pride and belonging as a foundation for the protection of the reserves.

In this new phase, the brotherhood will continue to share knowledge about the mechanisms and benefits of marine reserves locally through open days, activities aimed at fishermen and joint tasks between entities. They will work closely with the Low Impact Fishers of Europe (LIFE) organisation to identify measures that reinforce  the sustainability of the fishing sector environmentally, economically and socially. There will be activities to analyse the state of the fishing sector; and they’ll promote the slow food,slow fish movement. The aim is to ensure the preservation of fish resources and reduce the impact of fishing on vulnerable habitats and species; to value local, “km 0” and seasonal products; and ensure the continuity of the professional fishing sector, which is a local economic area that is essential for community development.

The project is extended to the other fishermen's guilds in the Pityusic Islands: the Sant Antoni Brotherhood of Fishermen and the Formentera Brotherhood of Fishermen.

Marga Serra, coordinator of the project, states that "The first phase of the project has allowed us to find out that there is a significant lack of information about how the reserves are managed and why; as well as the role that each actor plays within this puzzle. We believe it is vital to fill these information gaps and encourage the collection of data, which can then be translated into effective and understandable management steps that society can take".

Aniol Esteban, director of Marilles, adds: "The fishermen of the Pityusic Islands have for years been at the forefront of marine reserve creation, and the fishermen of Ibiza has been a pioneer with the creation of the local brand Peix Nostrum. Fishing continues to exert the most pressure on the marine environment, and working constructively with committed and dedicated fishermen is the best way to reduce unwanted impact and find solutions that benefit the sea, the fishermen and the whole of society. In the Pityusic Islands we encounter a favourable context for creating a sustainable fishing model and fleet, and for it to become a reference for the rest of the Mediterranean".

Antoni Tur Serra, the Presidentof the Guild of Ibiza Fishermen, adds: "This project has allowed us to get where we deserve to be; we are agents who intervene in the protection of the marine environment. Obviously, we are exploiting the resource, but we still have a dutyand a commitment to manage it in a responsible way”.

The project "Mare Nostrum: Reserve for the future" was one of the winners of the first call for proposals of the Fund for the Improvement of Marine Protected Areas (MPA), which Marilles launched in November 2018. The fund finances projects to improve the MPAs of the Balearic Islands. It is open to contributions from other benefactors.

The fishermen's associationsof Ibiza and Formentera have been working for years to declare marine reserves “of fishing interest”, as they know from experience the benefits they offer, in more ways than one. In the Pityusic Islands we find the Es Freus, Tagomago and Punta de Sa Creu marine reserves. Since they were established, these reserves have helped improve the volume of commercial fish and their diversity; in fact, the Es Freus Marine Reserve shows the highest values of total biomass and levels of fishing recovery of all marine reserves in the Balearic Islands. In 19 years it has increased by +13.6 kg/250 m2 inthe integral reserve in surface waters, and by +14.4 kg/250 m2 in deep waters. The surface and deep waters of the integral reserve reach the maximums of 15.6 kg/250 m2 and 26.5 kg/250 m2,respectively. Even so, there is room for improvement, and their maximum potential has not been reached yet.


Photographs to illustrate the news item

Complementary material

Report on the impact of marine reserves in the Balearics

For more information:

Marga Serra, coordinator of the  “Mare Nostrum: Reserve for the future” 637 480 786

Ana Peña – Communications, Marilles Foundation 676 254 404