IROX calls on administrations to set up a seabed monitoring facility off Cabo de la Nao

They propose an annual ban in an area frequented by trawlers in the region.

Wednesday 20th October 2021 – XÀBIA AL DÍA with Mike Smith

The Institute of Oceanographic Research of Xàbia (IROX) has asked local, regional and state administrations to protect the seabed in front of Cabo de la Nao in Xàbia, specifically an area known as the Roca dels Felius. To make this possible, they insist that an observatory system must be created to monitor it continuously.

This area, which covers an area of ​​41 square kilometres of the seabed located in inland waters, has been the subject of a first scientific study whose results have revealed this ecological entity, which among others is one of the spaces where fishing trawlers drag. A study was carried out with contributions from various groups as well as the council In Xàbia as well as with the collaboration of sport and professional fishermen.

In their study, they highlighted that the Roca dels Felius is located about 4.13 kilometres from Cabo de la Nao and has a depth of between 57 and 112 metres. In addition, a detailed cartographic report was prepared, fishing activities observed and the catches recorded, video images of the seabed made, and an “initial inventory of species” created. For example, lobster, scorpion fish and a “regular but not very abundant” presence of large lobster specimens.

According to the study, “the observations indicate the need for urgent action to recover the richness of the area’s biodiversity,” where there is “a certain degree of profitable exploitation by fishing fleets”.

For this reason, one of the conclusions of the study is that trawling is restricted in one of the zones surrounding the area and is committed to carrying out “a management plan for the fishing activities of the local fishing fleet.”

Specifically, they propose a ban from September 15th to April 30th, with an exceptional period for the “bottom longline fishing”. They are proposed the following limits: a maximum of 80 pieces of net per vessel; nets removed at the weekends; limit the mesh of the nets to more than 3.5 metres; lobsters that are less than 24 centimetres in size are returned to the sea; and evaluation of the introduction of fishing techniques that protect the seabed.

They also propose that there must be a ban on sport fishing, during those same dates as well as a preventive protection regime to prevent activities such as hydrocarbon extraction or military practice activities.

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