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Andalusian marine fauna is made up of 7 species of invertebrates, 2 species of turtles, 16 species of cetaceans, 9 species of birds and more than 1000 species of fish, all in danger due to the transit of merchant ships, only in the year 2001 : 82,136 to an average of 225 per day, being more than 5000 oil tankers.
Andalusia has an area of 87,268 km ² , approximately, the territory has coastal plains belonging to the Guadalquivir river, the highest areas of the Peninsula in the Sierra Nevada, as well as the Tabernas desert and the Sierra de Grazalema Park, which has the largest area rainy throughout Spain.
In addition, its geostrategic location is enviable, since to the east it borders the Mediterranean Sea and the Atlantic Ocean; to the west with Portugal, while to the north it does so with the Sierra Morena and to the south with the famous Strait of Gibraltar, which is why it is considered as “the bridge between Africa and Europe”.
The Andalusian territory has a great variety of natural spaces with ecosystems of incalculable environmental value, therein lies the importance of conserving it through different protection figures, encompassed within the “Network of Protected Natural Spaces of Andalusia (RENPA)”.
Andalusia has 1,000 km of coastline , from the Gulf of Cádiz to the Alboran Sea, with the greatest marine biodiversity in Europe, “allowing a great variety of ecosystems, harboring different species, due to the convergence of the biogeographic provinces on its coasts :Lusitánica, Mauritánica y Mediterránea ”, coupled with how close it is to the African continent.
Algal communities on rocky bottoms, or seagrass meadows on sandy bottoms, which constitute the main biological community of the Mediterranean, stand out in these ecosystems.
In fact, in 2004 through the “Program for Sustainable Management of the Marine Environment Andaluz” , it was possible to identify a preliminary species and biocenosis to list Andalucia and also published the “Red Book of Invertebrates of Andalusia” the Which collects information on the state of conservation of threatened marine species and the most vulnerable ecosystems.
The document includes ” more than 6,000 citations of a total of 1,000 different marine species and more than 3,000 citations of approximately 150 different biocenoses.”
Since 2006, extra efforts have been made in “the monitoring of 7 species of cataloged marine invertebrates, of the 4 species of marine phanerogams present in Andalusia, 16 species of cetaceans, 2 species of sea turtles and 9 species of seabirds. included in the Birds Directive”.
For its part, the Strait of Gibraltar not only creates a single marine route for man, but also for migratory species between sea and ocean, including tuna, sea turtles and cetaceans.
An industrial pole and the largest maritime traffic of thousands of ships converge in this geographical space . An example of this was in 2001 when “82,136 ships sailed it, at an average of 225 daily, of which 5,000 were oil tankers, largely from the Persian Gulf through the Suez Canal.”
This situation means that the Andalusian coasts have a high risk of environmental contamination, due to the fact that they are travelled by a high number of ships with dangerous goods, which may affect the diversity of marine species found on this coast.
There are also situations that can aggravate marine-coastal pollution , due to frequent spills of hydrocarbon pollutants from routine maintenance operations such as “cleaning tanks and bilges, elimination of cargo residues, accidental spills in cargo operations, unloading and transfer, and spills in the loading of self-propelled fuel (bunkering) ”.
Not counting maritime accidents, which in the last 23 years have been accounted for “some 311 incidents in Mediterranean waters, of which 156 resulted in polluting discharges. “
In 1994, the “Community Strategy for the Integrated Management of Coastal Zones (ICZM)” was created in Europe , which seeks to include the coastline as a priority in the community’s territorial and environmental policy.
Likewise, the Junta de Andalucía creates the “Integral Management Centers of the Andalusian Marine Environment (CEGMAs)” , where it is intended to coordinate the resources available for the conservation and management of the coastline and marine environment in Andalusia . All this in order to protect this area of great natural wealth, not only for Spain but for the rest of the world.
Source: la voz de lsur