The quality of the Formentera waters, unique for their transparency and turquoise colour, is due to the presence of the largest underwater meadows of Posidonia Oceanica in the Mediterranean Sea, declared a UNESCO World Heritage site in 1999.
The Posidonia plant is a thriving species in the Mediterranean Sea. Despite living underwater, it is not an algae but a true plant with roots, stem and leaves. Its presence in our waters is essential, as it produces large amounts of oxygen that are key to the survival of algae, sponges and fish. The plants work like miniature jungles, creating habitats where large numbers of species can find an ideal habitat, acting as a natural purifier.
Once it has bloomed, its remains outside of the water create reefs that extend alongside the coastline, acting as a means of balancing the coastline, protecting it from erosion by cushioning and reducing waves. At the same time the plants allow the finest sand through, which forms beaches and dunes, thus purifying the waters by retaining the sediment.
ANCHORING ON POSIDONIA
Aware of the natural heritage these Posidonia meadows represent, as well as the need to preserve them, regulations were put in place for anchoring vessels on Posidonia. For more information please visit: www.balearslifeposidonia.eu and this link.
LES SALINES NATURAL PARK
The Ses Salines d’Eivissa i Formentera Natural Park represents an example of the wealth of the Mediterranean bio-diversity. Its uniqueness sits in its resting and nesting site for migrating birds. As a natural space of particular interest, it encompasses a host of land and marine habitats of considerable international ecological, landscape, historical and cultural value.
Flora and Fauna
The Park is home to a magnificent representation of the vast majority of the plant species growing on the Pitiusas Islands. Plant life on Formentera is characterised by the predominance of coastal pines and junipers, as well as flora that surrounds inland waters, the dune systems and the cliffs, which are dominated by thriving collections of sea fennel. The abundant presence of typical mobile and semi-mobile dunes is outstanding.
Some 210 species of birds have been registered in the Natural Park. Of particular interest are the populations of aquatic birds, such as flamingos, black-winged stilts, white-crested ducks, Kentish plovers and marine birds, such as the Audouin’s gull, and the Balearic shearwater. One of the largest concentrations of black-necked grebes in Europe can be found in the Estany Pudent.
Other noteworthy animal species are the Pitiusan wall lizard (Podarcis pityusensis), with a healthy population on these islands, and of which there are many different types of sub-specie on the islets, characteristic for their huge range of colours, from brown to blue. The Formentera lizards are not afraid of humans and they fearlessly populate the most arid and barren landscapes. Other outstanding island fauna includes the garden dormouse (Eliomys quercinus) and diverse thriving species of snails and beetles. For more information visit this link or this link.
ES FREUS MARINE RESERVE
The Es Freus Marine Reserve of Ibiza and Formentera, was created in 1999 with the aim of protecting the ecosystems, stopping the deterioration of habitats, and recovering and repopulating threatened species and areas. It is located between the islands of Ibiza and Formentera, and encompasses the far south of Ibiza, the north, the west coast of Formentera and the space that separates them. This marine strip is scattered with little islets (Porcs, Penjats, Espalmador, Castaví...), the remains of a geological past when both islands were connected. In 2015 the Reserve boundaries were extended: download an up-to-date map here.
The Es Freus Marine Reserve, covering an area of 13,617 marine hectares, is the second largest protected marine area in the Spanish Mediterranean, following the Migjorn Reserve of Mallorca. It covers a range of areas, from shallow zones up to 60-metre deep ocean floors, and includes a large variety of underwater landscapes, of which the Posidonia meadows are of particular interest (UNESCO World Heritage).
Sea fishing is prohibited in the entire reserve area, with no exceptions.
The special protected area or integral reserve is located on the eastern slope of the S’Espardell islet. It covers around 4 km² and is marked off with a series of beacons in the following positions:
l = 38º 48´41´´N L = 01º 27´54´´E , l = 38º 48´41´´N L = 01º 29´23´´E
l = 38º 46´53´´N L = 01º 28´54´´E, l = 38º 46´53´´N L = 01º 29´33´´E
Anchoring is strictly prohibited in this entire area, as are sea fishing, sport fishing of any kind or scuba diving.
Currently, authorisation must be given to dive within the marine reserve, which can be obtained from the Ministry for Agriculture and Fishing (telephone no. +34 971 176 114 and +34 971 166 104). For more information visit this link. To get information about fishing permits call +34 971 321 087 (extension 3) or visit this link.