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Areas Urbanism & territory, Tourism and Economic activities Environment

4th Save Posidonia Project Forum

foto 2021 SPP forumDConsell de Formentera President and Councillor of Tourism Alejandra Ferrer welcomed attendees of the fourth Save Posidonia Project Forum today in the Sala de Cultura (Cinema). The first portion of the day found Ferrer highlighting conclusions reached by working groups that were held yesterday with representatives of the business sector, members of the public, NGOs and experts to discuss the current state of affairs and prepare a roadmap for the course ahead.

Participants in yesterday’s discussions were charged with identifying the most pressing needs on Formentera. Ferrer relayed the most salient points raised, including “regulating anchoring ships to avoid the associated strain generated both at Ses Salines reserve and across the island; regulating and reducing ferry connections between Eivissa and Formentera; determining Formentera’s carrying capacity on land and at sea alike”. The President also emphasised the importance of “global policies, because other territories’ growth-related decisions have knock-on effects on our coastline, which is saturated”. “Formentera’s sustainability strategies are decided with the help of the entire island, but we must go further and involve the entire Mediterranean protecting posidonia and all natural resources”, she concluded.

In his remarks, Councillor of Environment Antonio J. Sanz highlighted the SPP Forum’s growth since its inception in 2017. “It’s an event that connects tourism and the environment”, he remarked, describing the mission as “educating people about a resource which, as biologist Manu San Félix once reminded us, gives us the oxygen we breathe on Formentera”. “In posidonia we have our lungs”, stressed Sanz, who listed the projects that have been financed through the sponsorship of seagrass meadows. He also told attendees that the University of the Balearic Islands' ImPeFora project, which will analyse the effects of microbeads on posidonia, won the latest Save Posidonia Project call for proposals, along with a €112,000 grant.

The second block of the Forum is focused on ‘Smart sustainability: conserving posidonia’. It will feature working tables and talks in which experts discuss the present and future, the development of new innovative models in environmental sustainability and success stories of technology-driven sustainability.

For the third and final block in the afternoon, discussion will turn on local emissions and possible solutions, and the event will close with a round table on the leaders of the future of sustainable tourism and the closing ceremony, once again led by President Ferrer.

Saturday, 25 September

The SPP Forum also comes with opportunities for volunteers, like a 9.30am clean-up of S'Estufador beach organised in association with Plastic Free Formentera and Qué Celeste. A bus will depart from Sa Senieta car park in Sant Francesc at 9.00am.

At 12.30pm, a visit to posidonia meadows will include a boat trip, explanation of the ecosystem inhabited by posidonia and a diving activity overseen by a guide.

The full SPP Forum programme is available here.

24 September 2021
Communications Office
Consell de Formentera

This Saturday, beach cleanup at Cala en Baster and Es Carnatge

cartell 2021 neteja platja SPPFor this year’s Save Posidonia Project, the Formentera Offices of Tourism and Environment are pleased to announce a beach cleanup at Cala en Baster and Es Carnatge on Saturday 25 September at 9.30am. A bus will depart at 9.00am from Sa Senieta car park in Sant Francesc. Plastic Free Formentera and Qué Celeste will also take part in the cleanup.

23 September 2021
Communications Office
Consell de Formentera

Consell d'Entitats discusses plans for anchorage scheme at S’Estany des Peix

foto 2021 consell entitats fondejosThe Consell d'Entitats held a one-off session yesterday afternoon to discuss plans to regulate anchored watercraft in S'Estany des Peix. The meeting was chaired by President Alejandra Ferrer; attended by Director-General of the Balearic Office of Natural Spaces and Biodiversity Llorenç Mas and Formentera’s Councillor of Environment Antonio J. Sanz, and conducted by Councillor of Citizen Participation Vanessa Parellada. Among the nearly two hundred attendees were normal islanders, spokespeople from 24 Consell d’Entitats member associations and political party representatives.

Pointing to what she termed “the long-standing unsustainability” of the situation at S’Estany des Peix, President Ferrer insisted the island’s government was committed to “a regulatory model that strikes a balance between traditional anchoring needs and protection of a unique natural space”. Ferrer offered a message that was of both calmness and confidence, affirming, “The political will is to defend the general public interest and ensure that people can continue to enjoy S’Estany des Peix in an orderly and sustainable manner while respecting the traditions and cultural heritage with which the pond is associated.

The President said that apart from regulated anchorage, “other interrelated aspects demand our efforts as well, including a public anchorage spot in the port and a new dry marina and ramps”, insisting, “These and other actions will ensure that the people of Formentera can continue to enjoy access to the sea”. Ferrer also spoke about the need to study options “for the logistics and commercial side of things, as we have also conveyed to the Balearic Port Authority”.

15 days to offer suggestions for rules of use

Councillor Antonio J. Sanz detailed the progress made since March 2019. “Right now we are in the process of drafting regulations for the rules of use and the session brought some very interesting remarks and expressions of concern. We explained how residents can register their comments online through the Virtual Citizen Information Office (OVAC) and in person at the Citizen Information Office (OAC) and that they have 15 days to present their contributions and suggestions to shape these regulations”. The session also featured talk about the possible criteria for the tendering process, which Sanz assured would “comply with current regulations and be sound from an environmental and historical standpoint”. “Let’s not forget that these plans were borne out of the need to recover a natural space which is facing a high degree of degradation”, the Councillor reasoned. Interested parties can find out more on the Consell de Formentera website.

For his part, Director-General Mas asserted he was confident an agreement could be reached to “satisfactorily organise this protected natural space”. He added that “progress regulating the use of marine areas is essential in times of climate emergency to preserve our most valuable habitats and species”.

23 September 2021
Communications Office
Consell de Formentera

Formentera hosts Mediterranean Network for Posidonia towards common European policy on conservation

foto 2021 SPP networks AIsland’s choice as meeting site highlights status as touchstone of awareness and conservation outcomes

Consell de Formentera President Alejandra Ferrer was in charge of welcoming participants at the first face-to-face gathering of the Mediterranean Network for Posidonia (Xarxa Mediterrània per a la Posidonia, XMP). The days ahead will see members of governments and entities from eleven Mediterranean states unite behind the goal of common policy for posidonia conservation.

The initiative has roots in a November 2019 meeting held in Greece which featured representatives of the European Union and of most of the European countries of the Mediterranean. One of the main points on the docket was creation of a network of contacts to build synergies for a future European conservation strategy for posidonia seagrass.

President Ferrer drew attention to the Formentera government’s long-standing committment to protecting posidonia, reviewed municipal proposals to regulate anchoring ships and once again asked the responsible authorities to assist in the implementation of such proposals. “This summer laid bare just how vital it will be for Formentera to start acting in line with our needs and carrying capacity; in this our priority must be the environment, heritage and our residents’ quality of life”, she said. “Formentera has done a lot of fighting and we’re pioneers in many preservation- and sustainability-driven initiatives, including our network of vehicle recharge points, the formentera.eco scheme to restrict in-bound vehicles, caps on permits for tourist beds, eliminating plastic bags... We’ve done everything that we were able to do on land, but we lack strong measures at sea. Other Mediterranean destinations’ actions have a direct impact on our coastline and the growth of the nautical sector is unsustainable”, she insisted.

For his part, the Balearic Minister of Environment, Miquel Mir, emphasised the importance of an initiative “that would frame the roadmap towards a common, European Commission-endorsed marine conservation policy”. Mir applauded Formentera’s choice as the meeting site “because it is a European reference in terms of public awareness and actions in support of posidonia conservation”, adding that “this gathering cements the Balearic Islands’ trailblazing role adopting and enacting effective policies to protect a species that is vital for undersea habitats in the Mediterranean”.

The encounter is being hosted by the Balearic Ministry of the Environment and Territory and the French Biodiversity Office (OFB) in association with the LIFE Marha project and the Consell de Formentera. Cyrile Barnerias, who heads the OFB’s European and international relations division, pointed out that “the EU protects posidonia in accordance with the Natura 2000 directives. In France, posidonia meadows are carefully safeguarded, not just within protected marine areas. The XMP roadmap allows for greater cooperation to support stewardship”.

In the coming days, attendees will learn first-hand about policies to safeguard underwater seed-bearing plants that are being implemented on Formentera and in the region — both of which are fulcrums of efforts to legislate posidonia conservation. Also on hand at the encounter were representatives of the Valencian regional government, the governments of France, Malta, Cyprus, Montenegro and Greece, as well as universities and scientific and environmental organisations from across the Mediterranean.

21 September 2020
Communications Office
Consell de Formentera

From bottom of sea floor, Formentera posidonia sends message of environmental awareness

cartell 2021 aixetaAAs part of the Save Posidonia Project’s ‘Conservem el nostre gran secret’ (Let’s protect our big secret) push, the Consell de Formentera has emblazoned messages of environmental awareness on stickers to serve as reminders in the washrooms of tourist accommodations, businesses and even the homes of regular islanders.

The first reads “I ask you from the bottom of the sea: flush only toilet paper”. The second proffers a slightly different enjoinder: “Don’t leave water running”. The graphics are presented in Catalan, Spanish and English and carry the hashtag #laposidòniacomençaaquí (‘posidoniastartshere’).

“We wanted to give posidonia its own personality”, explained president and tourism chief Alejandra Ferrer, “and we wanted people to see that the sea and our stewardship of it starts in our homes, at our taps and drains”.

An already-printed initial run of 600 stickers will be distributed among members of the local league of small business owners (Pimef), chamber of commerce and federation of hotels. Islanders who wish to pick their stickers up should visit the head office of the Consell de Formentera and Tourist Information Points.

Environment chief Antonio J. Sanz said  promoting conservation meant adapting public awareness policies to tourists and islanders alike.

This campaign is part of next week’s Save Posidonia Project Forum. See below for the complete programme.

Friday 24 September
The first day will be divided into three segments. First up is a welcome address and opening remarks in which President Ferrer will lay out a roadmap for the year ahead and highlight findings from fieldwork completed during the Posidonia Mediterranean Network event which immediately preceded SPP Forum.

The second segment, ‘Smart sustainability: protecting Posidonia’, combines working groups and talks where experts address the present, future, new innovative models of ecological sustainability and success stories pairing technology with sustainability.

That same afternoon, the third segment, ‘Carbon Neutral Islands’, addresses local emissions and possible solutions, and concludes with a round-table dedicated to the leaders of the future of sustainable tourism and the closing event.

Saturday 25 September
Volunteer activities form the basis of day two: a cleanup of S'Estufador beach (9.30am) and guided visit of posidonia meadows, including boat trip, environmental explanations and diving activity.

17 September 2020
Communications Office
Consell de Formentera

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