The Marilles Foundation creates the first fund for Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) in the Balearics.
- The funds will be spent on projects that improve the marine protected areas in the Balearics.
- The €200,000 fund is open to contributions from other donors.
- The first round, worth €100,000, aims to create stronger links between citizens and the protected marine areas.
The Marilles Foundation, a non-profit organisation for conserving the Balearic sea, has created the first fund for improving the marine protected areas in the Balearics.The MPAs are an essential tool for improving the marine environment whose improvement is one of Marilles’ strategic priorities and a key stage in making the Balearics into an international role model in marine conservation.
Open to other donors
The fund is open to contributions from other potential national and international donors, as well as from the Balearics. The fund has seed capital of €200,000, considerably less than what is needed, especially bearing in mind that the protected area is growing faster than the available resources.
After two years analysing the situation in the Balearics, the conclusion reached by Marilles and supported by numerous others is that a lack of finance is the main factor limiting the potential of the protected marine areas to improve the habitats and the species in the Balearics which in turn would bring numerous benefits to the local society and economy.
According to Aniol Esteban, director of the Fundación Marilles: “Improving marine areas is the key to improving the state of the Balearic sea. We have an opportunity to reinforce the leadership that the Balearics has assumed in marine conservation but to achieve this requires better financing, both public and private. We have established this fund in the hope of attracting extra resources and support. We invite everyone who loves the Balearic sea to support this initiative. If the fund grows, so will the wealth of our oceans.”
Greater visibility and links with MPAs
The first round, starting with €100,000 and open until December 1, is aimed at giving MPAs greater visibility and to create stronger bonds and a sense of civic pride in the MPAs among those who live work and visit the islands.
Creating a sense of pride has been identified as a priority by the MPAs’ LABs: multi-disciplinary working groups formed by the Fundación Marilles to look for solutions to improve the MPAs.
The LABs have identified other points of intervention that may be covered in future rounds: monitoring and control, follow-up, management, custody, legislation etc.
The MPAs in the Balearics: unrealised potential
The Balearic Islands marine environment is one of the best conserved in the Mediterranean. 16% of the Balearic sea and 43% of the interior waters are under some form of legal protection but less than 1% are part of a no-take zone. While this protection has had a positive impact on conserving the marine environment, the impact on fauna and marine habitats has been much less than expected,
The MPAs’ main objective, protecting and improving marine and coastal habitats, is a long way off reaching its potential in the Balearics. A lack of financial resources has led to a low level of monitoring and control and inadequate follow-up and management. But it isn’t just a lack of resources that is holding back the development of a functioning network of MPAs, there is also a lack of awareness and sense of connection on the part of residents.
A new project evaluates bathing water quality using algae as a bioindicator
The study is financed by Marilles, the Agència Menorca Reserva de Biosfera and the OBSAM.