Green Sail

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  • Consell Launch ‘Green Sail’ Nautical Tourism Campaign.
  • Call for ‘Cultural and Social Change’ to Protect Pitiuses Marine Ecosystem.
  • Posidonia Specimens in Local Waters Found to be 30,000 Years Old.

The Consell of Ibiza, in association with the office of tourism, has launched a campaign intended to educate those who work and participate in nautical tourism in Ibiza and Formentera. The initiative sets out a list of ‘best practices’ to ensure the natural environment is protected and respected.

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Keep Off The Grass - Protect Our Posidonia
Keep Off The Grass - Protect Our Posidonia

6000 copies of an information booklet have been printed explaining what Posidonia is and its importance to the ecosystem in the Pitiuses. The guide explains the ecological damage that is caused by illegal anchorages within the grass beds. It also provides various navigation aids  including information on where boats can safely anchor, grass meadow location buoys, and ports where waste can be safely deposited etc. The pamphlets have been published in Catalan, Spanish and English and will be distributed through the island’s marinas and businesses associated with sailing and all water based activities.

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Miquel Vericad, minister of the environment, said “it is important to educate our visitors of the island’s underwater heritage. We must seek a cultural and social change so that these best practices become normal procedure.”

Neil Wood of Boats Ibiza "Posidonia is a magnificent feature of our marine environment"
Neil Wood of Boats Ibiza “Posidonia is a magnificent feature of our marine environment”

We asked Neil Woods, owner of Ibiza pleasure craft business  Boats Ibiza, for his take on the initiative. After taking a look at the information on the Consell website and the Green Sail documents, Neil sent us his reply:

“Posidonia is a magnificent feature of the Ibiza and Formentera marine environment. We support any initiative  about protecting it and respecting its ancient fragility. It’s in everyone’s interest to look after our beautiful island and for this reason we only ever anchor on sand, never allow any littering and keep our engines meticulously clean and well maintained. We welcome this scheme to raise awareness of the responsibility of the boating community to respect and protect the Posidonia. It is a World Heritage site for a reason!”

More information can be obtained at :-

www.greensailing.ibiza.travel

download a copy of the greensail leaflet in english:-

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Editorial

The conservation of the delicate ecosystem in the waters around the Pitiuses is a subject in which we should all be interested and involved. It is a fair assumption that those nautical visitors to the islands most in need of information and education regarding the Posidonia meadows will be Johnny Foreigners, and a large proportion of those British or at least English speaking.

In whatever capacity you may interact with those using our waters, whether in their business or leisure, let us in the English speaking community take every opportunity to convey this information to them.

The various Town Halls in Ibiza are sometimes criticised for taking their Catalan heritage to a politically correct fault as far as communicating with tourists is concerned. On this occasion they have published the scheme in a tr-language translation and we should support this in helping to get the information out to its intended audience.

Though already broadly aware of Posidonia’s importance, I did not know before writing this article that some Posidonia plants are 30,000 years old. I find that mind bogglingly awesome, and though ecological destruction can never be a good thing, there is something even more compelling in destroying a living thing so ancient.  How can we allow ourselves to be the thing history records as killing the thing that has been living since pre-history?

We would hope that those using the Pitiuses waters would wish to do so responsibly for its own sake, however even if not environmentally conscious you would still be doing them a favour in making them aware, as there are substantial fines for breaching the conservation regulations.

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It is great to hear the comments of Neil Woods at Boats Ibiza. His pleasure craft business and many others earning a living from our coastal waters, would have most to lose in any type of restraint on movement, mooring or activity. That private business is giving such strong support to the importance of protecting the  Posidonia meadows is the most promising news of all.  It shows a long term outlook, recognition of the bigger picture where economic and environmental objectives are one and the same.

The green lobby have to be applauded for working tirelessly to bring the importance of the issue to the forefront of attention. Having done  so they can feel justly proud of having made the issue one of political Importance and gaining the support of some in the private sector.

The next job is probably the biggest of all. That we the public embrace the importance of protecting our Marine Ecosystem.

Posedonia grass does not have the cuddly appeal of Pandas,. It is not in front of us in the way Ibiza’s insurgent snakes are. Posidonia does not have the emotional connection that results in passion and outrage at the prospect of killing goats on es Vedra. Posedonia is hidden from our view, and most of the time so are the people killing it with anchors and pollution.

It is, after all, ‘just a grass’.

In marketing terms it has everything stacked against it. Posedonia is the Sinclair C5 of environmental causes. Kind of interesting but ultimately of no use in our day to day life., Posidonia is not an ‘aspirational brand’.

But it does have one thing in its corner so far as gaining the ‘cultural and social change’ in outlook  that Minister Vericad rightly says is essential.

Ibiza has an ever growing lobby of people who can see beyond the lack of fur, who do not ignore it because they cannot see it. Our island space is so small and our insular life leaves us with no option but to  look, well,  insular. There is no horizon beyond which help in taking the slack from the pressure of overpopulation will arise. There is no resort 50 miles East that can rise to take the burden of saturation tourism from us.  The furthest we can even choose to move from the madness is 10 minutes up the road to San Juan. We can’t move it, we can’t escape it and, as far as brand Ibiza is concerned, it seems we can’t stop it.

So we have to protect it.

Environmentalists see it. Centre party politicians see it. Some in the private sector see it. Now we  have to see it.

Ibiza needs us to become grass huggers. Are you in?

The campaign for the protection and consciousness- raising of the posidonia has already begun! you cannot imagine the amount of people who want to protect our oceans and seas. There are already a lot of volunteers going across our coasts giving pamphlets / leaflets to those boats anchored on our precious posidonia. we need your help! María José Estarellas

What Is Posidonia?

The Posidonia is a marine plant endemic to the Mediterranean Sea. Posidonia meadows can be very dense and extensive, and in clear waters the grass like plant can live in depths of up to 40 metres. The meadows grow on reefs formed very slowly by the accumulation of the plant itself and remains of other sediments.

The Posidonia has been granted full creature status but is now dying at 10%+ a year. In 10 years thanks to our pollution she may not even exist – and that horrifies me to the core: Cat Milton

The plants can reproduce asexually so that some clones occupy large areas for thousands of years. Examples of living specimens have been found around the coast of Ibiza and Formentera over 30,000 years old, putting them among the longest living organisms in the world.

Posidonia fulfils a multitude of important jobs within the ecosystem. These include providing habitat to fish and shellfish etc., protection against coastline erosion, highly efficient CO2 traps, and even supplying the sand on our beaches. The Posidonia also has many traditional uses in medicines, agriculture and even as a building material used in the ceilings of houses.

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The unique nature of Posidonia meadows has earned them a declaration by UNESCO as world heritage sites.

Further information on the impact of nautical tourism and tips for responsible navigation around the islands can be found via the web link

www.greensailing.ibiza.travel

For more information on Posidonia see this link suggested by Justus Paiewonsky

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Posidonia_oceanica