Dr. Sylvia Earle exploring a seagrass bed in the marine protected area of the small island of El Toro off the coast of Mallorca. Photo © Kip Evans for Mission Blue.
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Date/Time
Date(s) - 11/10/2015 - 11/11/2015

Location
Balearic Islands

Categories


In November 2015 Dr. Earle and the Mission Blue team visited the Balearic Islands to launch it as the first Hope Spot in the Mediterranean in partnership with Asociación Ondine and Stefan Hearst. Read more about it here.

The Balearic Islands consist of Mallorca, Menorca, Ibiza and Formentera. This archipelago is strategically located in the middle of the western Mediterranean, within the Balearic Sea, and subjected to the influence of currents from the northwestern Mediterranean and others of Atlantic origin. The Balearic Sea has a good representation of the habitats existing along the Mediterranean, as well as a high biodiversity. There are valuable Posidonia oceanica seagrass meadows, accounting for more than 46,000 hectares, and the ones between Ibiza and Formentera were declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1999. Pollution, sedimentation and poor water quality have not notably altered the habitats. Commercial fishing causes the primary impacts to the ecosystem, but the status of commercial fish stocks is considered to be better than those from most of the Mediterranean. The south of the Balearic Islands is an important area for sea turtles (mainly the loggerhead Caretta caretta, which is threatened by longlines), cetaceans, and a spawning area for endangered bluefin tuna (Thunnus thynnus). Some areas have also been identified as hot spots for other endangered species such as the white skate (Rostroraja alba). The Balearic Basin reaches depths below 2,000 meters, where researchers have documented a variety of deep sea fish species including the Mediterranean spiderfish (Bathypterois mediterraneus). The Balearic Islands also represent the only nesting area to the Balearic shearwater (Puffinus mauretanicus), one of the most threatened marine birds in the world.

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"With knowing comes caring." - Dr. Sylvia Earle