Balearic Marine Life

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What we can do to improve conditions for marine life?

  • Reduce your plastic waste (do not use single use plastic bags).
  • Eat + buy consciously, e.g. fish species that are not endangered.
  • Keep the environment clean, do not litter.
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Mallorca is the home of someone else: creatures we rarely have the opportunity to see

It is great to live in a paradise, mountains in the west, and beautiful vineyards in the fertile central plain in the east, and of course being surrounded by wonderful golden beaches and clear turquoise water.
But Mallorca is also someone else’s home, and we rarely have the opportunity to meet them. To whom are we referring?

“The sea around Mallorca is home to many marine animal species like stingrays, groupers, octopuses and lots of echinoderms etc. But the true beauty lies in something only few tourists acknowledge and will see during their dive trips, says Manon Happach, Ocean Guide at Palma aquarium.
“One of the most special species to be found in the waters around the island is the loggerhead sea turtle. It is one of the seven species of marine turtles present in the World’s Oceans, and the most common species found around Spain, says Manon.

“Unfortunately, all seven species are endangered worldwide, being prone to ingest plastic waste, getting entangled in fishing nets or lines and involved in boat accidents”.
The Balearic Islands constitute the most important spawning area for the Atlantic bluefin tuna, certainly one of the most iconic species of the Mediterranean Sea. Strangely, not many people know about this amazing animal, which is one of the biggest (up to 4 meters), heaviest (600 kg) and fastest fish around Mallorca, accelerating faster than a Porsche.

Out at sea, maybe crossing over to the Cabrera archipelago, you might get lucky enough to see one of the rarest sea birds in the world: the endemic Balearic shearwater (Puffinus mauretanicus). Usually spending their life out at sea, it only returns to land to breed from February through to June.

Many tourists and residents love to spend their days in the water, diving or snorkelling and the Balearic Islands have seven declared marine reserves and thus are Spain’s autonomous region with the most marine protected areas.

The famous diving areas of El Toro and Malgrats of Santa Ponça were declared nature reserves in 2004. Thus, they have an abundant biodiversity, featuring moray eels, groupers, amber jacks, brown meagre, barracudas, nudibranchs and octopuses. They are suitable for both beginners and experienced divers. Due to strict regulations diving is permitted only with an authorization of a diving club.

Other spots that are gorgeous are the Isla Dragonera and Cabrera Archipelago. The Cabrera Archipelago was declared a national park in 1991. The island Dragonera was declared a nature reserve in 1995.

Due to the crystal clear water and the protection of these areas they belong to the top dive sites in Mallorca. The caves of Dragonera are especially interesting. What makes Cabrera such a fantastic dive site is that more than half of the varieties of the fish found in the Balearic Islands can be found in the park’s waters. Sometimes you even get to see dolphins or sea turtles.

Text by:
Manon Happach
Marie Andersson

Illustration:
Nik Neves