Spanish seas now safe for whale migration

Published:  10 Jul at 6 PM
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Tagged: Spain, Visas
Expats who value the pristine beauty of Spain’s seas and their part in the annual migrations of whales, dolphins and sea turtles are thrilled that a Royal Decree has now protected some 46,000 square kilometres of the ocean.

The vast protected area runs between the coastlines of Alicante, Girona, Catalonia and Valencia on the mainland side and the Balearic Islands, and is a major part of an important migration pathway for the three species as well as other denizens of the deep. The order, issued by the Spanish government after consultation with the King, forbids any hydrocarbon-detecting operations from taking place in spite of the existence of 13 already submitted but not approved permits.

Spanish conservation group Alliance Mar Blava’s spokesperson Carlos Bravo told local media he believes the government should immediately make it clear to the companies who’ve submitted the requests that their permits will never be granted as they now have no rights to proceed. Without permits for hydrocarbon detection operations, there can be no drilling for oil and no pollution of the sea lanes used by the three species for their annual migrations.

According to minister for ecological transition Teresa Bank, another crucial prevention relates to the noise of both underwater exploration and drilling, both of which can seriously affect whales and dolphins. The prohibition adds onto other such decisions, with three per cent of the waters off the Spanish coastline now protected areas. There’s a long way to go to make the ocean safe for its species, but Spain is doing its best thanks to a number of environmental protection groups and a sympathetic government.
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