Susana Burgos is founder and secretary of the recently created Pitiusa Association of Women in the Fishing Sector. Born in Madrid (1977), and living on Formentera since 1987, she has developed her professional work as a technician in public administration, first on the city council in various departments and then on the Island Council of Formentera. Currently, she is the Head of the Fishing and Hunting Service and fishing inspector of the Council.
“I have three children, all born in Formentera (10, 6, and 4 years old), to whom I have instilled my passion and love for our sea and respect for our island, an ecosystem so small and yet so fragile," she says.
WHAT IS THE HEALTH OF THE SEA IN FORMENTERA?
The Pitiusas Islands, Formentera and Ibiza, maintain a markedly seasonal fishing exploitation model, with intense activity during the summer months and reduced activity during the rest of the year. This has allowed maintaining the fishing resources of the inland waters in an exceptionally good state, as evidenced by the environmental indicators that have been made.
DOES FORMENTERA HAVE ANY SPECIAL FEATURES COMPARED TO THE REST OF THE ISLANDS, IN TERMS OF THE SEA AND FISHING?
Yes. Being a small island makes the link with the sea more intense than in the rest of the islands, or at least this is my perception.
HOW DOES THE COUNCIL SUPPORT ITS PROTECTION?
Since the Council of Formentera was created in 2007, the competences in fishing matters were achieved, and therefore there is an inspection service that works to protect the sea in coordination with the Directorate General of Fisheries of the Government of the Balearic Islands, which has the powers in fisheries management. Joint surveillance and supervision work is carried out in the marine reserve areas of the Pitiusas Islands as well as in the rest of the maritime fishing environment.
From the fishing service of the Insular Council of Formentera, in collaboration with the General Directorate of Fisheries, the Es Freus Marine Reserve of Ibiza and Formentera was extended. Studies were carried out to create new marine reserves in inland waters, such as the recently created Punta de Sa Creu, and others in outer waters, such as the marine reserve of Sec des Ram, in the southern area of La Mola, with an area of 941 hectares and a maximum depth of 53m, and the marine reserve of the Baix Fondo-EsGarroveret area, in the southern area of Cap de Barbaria, with an area of 6,391 hectares and a maximum depth of 53m. The latter two, unfortunately, are still pending approval by the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food.
HOW DO YOU MONITOR THE EXISTING RESERVES?
We have our own inspection service at the Council of Formentera, equipped with two inspectors qualified to carry out this task with an 8.5-m semi-rigid 500CV boat that allows us to reach the entire coastline of our island and the adjacent islets. We have surveillance cameras and use drones to control areas difficult to access.
Last year, the Balearic Islands Fishing Vessel Location and Monitoring System (SLSEPIB), the so-called green boxes, became operational, a fundamental tool for our work.
There is also a collaboration agreement with the Directorate General of Fisheries to develop a better surveillance task with marine reserve devices and personnel, as well as with the fishing inspection service of the Council of Ibiza, because we have a shared use of the inland waters of the Pitiusas.
We also have the support of our colleagues in the maritime service of the Guardia Civil. We would be grateful if they had a detachment in the islands that would provide better support to our control work.
DO YOU FIND OFFENDERS?
IS THIS A WORRYING SITUATION?
We are working to reduce the impact of these offenders. But for it, we need more resources; for example, a permanent Civil Guard base and more human resources to watch all our coast.
HOW DO FISHERIES AND THE ENVIRONMENT COLLABORATE IN FORMENTERA?
We collaborate very well. We carry out coordinated work and always collaborate as it cannot be otherwise.
WHAT IS YOUR RELATIONSHIP WITH THE PROFESSIONAL FISHING SECTOR?
Our relationship is very good, both personally and professionally. We work side by side every day. We are in a sector in which there are a lot of regulations that are constantly updated. This means daily work and the need to stay current and to inform the fishermen's guilds, in my case the Fishermen's Guild of Formentera.
On 1 April, the new headquarters of the Fishermen's Guild of Formentera was inaugurated next to the fishing dock, an infrastructure long awaited by the sector which represents a quantitative and qualitative improvement for the 23 vessels of small gears and 2 trawlers that we have in Formentera.
In addition, in Formentera and Ibiza, in collaboration with the professional fishing sector, a management plan for professional fishing of small gears in the inland waters of the Pitiusas has been established to maintain fishing activity, the number of vessels, production, and jobs of the artisanal fleet, but with a reduction in the authorised fishing effort. It will help guarantee the environmental, economic, and social sustainability of the professional fishing of small gears. This is a pioneering initiative in the Balearic Islands and we hope it will set an example and open the way for the rest of the islands.
HOW DO TOURISM AND FISHING COEXIST?
Tourism and fishing always have a difficult coexistence; theirs is not an easy marriage. The fact that for a couple of months of the year the island is overcrowded and practically invaded by pleasure boats that occupy the fishing areas and reserve zones sometimes generates unwanted tensions for the sector. More emphasis should be placed on regulation, especially of anchorages on our coastline.
Quick test for enamarats
A book: Kites in the sky by Khaled Hosseini
An image that reminds you of the Balearic Islands: From the sea, Sa Punta Sa Creu in Formentera.
A marine species: Dolphin
A person or organisation of reference: Vicente Ferrer and his foundation.
A beach: The beach of Kiosk 62, Ca Mari, Formentera, without a doubt.
Optimistic, realistic or pessimistic? Always optimistic.
Marilles in the media
- 02/02/2023 Europa Press: "Fundaciones de las Islas se alían contra la pesca ilegal en el proyecto 'Calant Xarxes'"
- 02/02/2023 Diario de Ibiza: "IbizaPreservation se une a otras fundaciones para luchar contra la pesca ilegal"
- 22/11/2022 Periódico de Ibiza: "Formentera celebrará por primera vez las Jornadas de Medio Ambiente de la UIB y la Sociedad de Historia Natural"
Miquel Ortega: "Forward-looking fishers are environmentalists by obligation...
Co-author of the study "Who buys fish at the fish market in Mallorca?"
Inma Saranova, Executive Director of IbizaPreservation
Conservation and regeneration of the socio-environmental heritage of Ibiza and Formentera