On-board Diary: Menorca

Author: Ana de la Torriente
Date: September 12, 2008



We reached the port of Maó three days ago. After having worked around Menorca, we landed in this city, which was turned into the capital of the island during the British reign.

Whenever we reach port, everyone quickly disperses and concentrates on different tasks: the ROV technicians take advantage to buy material and make adjustments to their equipment, Carlos and Daniel take photographs of beautiful Menorca, concentrating on ports and ships, Ester, Xavier and I meet with the GOB of Menorca in order to exchange opinions about the actions necessary for the conservation of the island’s marine environment. This association (Ornithology Group of the Balearic Islands), established in Mallorca in 1973 – although the insular association of Menorca was established in 1977 – aims to defend, disseminate and study nature and the environment of Menorca.

On the 10th, we accompanied Xavier to Fornells, where he was invited to give a conference on Menorca’s marine environment in the “Tertúlies” organised by the Es Mercada City Hall every summer. Famous people with some special connection to the island are usually invited to these events.On the 10th, we accompanied Xavier to Fornells, where he was invited to give a conference on Menorca’s marine environment in the “Tertúlies” organised by the Es Mercada City Hall every summer. Famous people with some special connection to the island are usually invited to these events.

Approximately 50 or 60 people were present and Xavier took advantage to make an in-depth analysis of the current situation of the marine environment in the Balearic Islands, with special emphasis on Menorca. Basically, he emphasised that, due to the decrease in marine populations and the collapse of some commercial fish stocks, it is necessary to implement measures that will protect these populations and stocks and allow them to recover, such as the establishment of quotas for commercial species, the taking into account of the waters between the islands in the management of autonomous regions, the elimination of fishing techniques like bottom trawling and the establishment of marine protected areas and their management, through planning programmes and effective inspections.

The place chosen for the conference, Fornells, a traditional fishing port located just inside a marine reserve, the Reserve of Northern Menorca, was the perfect place to discuss and debate the necessary measures for the conservation of resources. Unfortunately, we were surprised by the lack of fishermen at the meeting, and this prevented a useful exchange of opinions and experiences in the search for solutions. Even so, the fact that the local community was present made this an interesting experience, because they were interested in learning about the current situation of the island’s marine environment. The reality of the marine ecosystem was presented precisely to the people who live in direct contact with the sea.