On-board Diary: Treasures in Seco
Author: Silvia García
Date: July 10, 2011
Seco de los Olivos (aka Chella Bank) has shown us why it is today an area exploited by fishermen looking for two of the most valued treasures of the Mediterranean: the grouper and the red coral, the latter one harvested here until a few decades ago. Both species (Epinephelus caninus and Corallium rubrum, respectively) live here, as far as we have been able to see today during the immersions with the underwater robot (ROV), in abundance. We have found and filmed eye-catching colonies of the prized coral a little over 100 m deep, and many huge groupers, in rocks obviously plagued with fishing lines and other waste materials from fishing boats visiting the area. Such amount of trash would cause an alarm to anyone who saw it in the surface.
The General Fisheries Commission for the Mediterranean (GFCM) establishes the need to evaluate the status of the colonies of the species exploited in this sea, with the goal of maintaining and replenishing the stock through an adequate management of fisheries based on the status of the resources. Therefore, all Mediterranean countries have an obligation to comply with this requirement, in favour of the species and ecosystems they are part of as well as the people who directly or indirectly benefit from their exploitation.
The presence of this species increases the already great need to preserve and adequately manage this marine area, since these are species of high economic value whose populations are overly exploited, which find here a safe refuge for their survival.
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