MANIFESTO FOR THE MEDITERRANEAN
UNITE FOR THE RECOVERY OF THE MEDITERRANEAN
Seventy years ago, the Spanish Mediterranean Sea was a very different place from what we see today. It was home to seals, such as the Mediterranean monk seal,sea turtles, sharks, and numerous schools of fish that were caught from the beach, along with extensive posidonia fields housing tens of thousands of nacras.
During that time artisanal fishermen caught huge groupers, and lobsters were frequent in the shallow waters. Nets were filled with spider crabs in spring, and large branches of red coral, hundreds of years old, were common.
The Egyptians, Phoenicians, Carthaginians, Greeks, and Romans discovered a rich sea where life was bountiful, with ideal conditions for living, making it the cradle of Western culture.
Villages that depended on the richness of the shallow waters for food sprouted around the coastal bays. However, today, the marine ecosystems of these environments, the origin of our Mediterranean life, are on the verge of collapse.The ideal natural conditions of the Mediterranean have led to the progressive increase in the coastal population in recent decades and the development of tourism. The attraction of the climate, waters, beaches, and gastronomy has transformed the Mediterranean into the world's main tourist destination, with a population of about 1,000,000,000 and 500,000,000 visitors per year..
This overpopulation has had dire ecological consequences, leading the Mediterranean to an ecological catastrophe and deep environmental crisis.Nowadays, our future is at stake and it is crucial to act.
- More Mediterranean species have disappeared, and some are critically endangered: monk seals, spider crabs, nacra, seahorses, red coral, etc.
- _ 90% of fisheries are overfished putting the fishing sector in an unsustainable situation. Many local fisheries are disappearing due to the scarcity of catches. We have fished 99% of the main shark species, such as the mako shark, hammerhead, and blue shark.
- Although numerous marine protected areas have been established in the last few decades, only 0.23% of the Mediterranean Basin is adequately protected..
- Overpopulation has caused a loss of coastal water quality, due to discharges of insufficiently treated water, producing the alteration of ecosystems An example is The Mar Menor, depicting what can happen in the rest of the Mediterranean.. 650,000,000 tons of wastewater are discharged each year, (according to the United Nations Environmental Program..
- More than a thousand invasive species that have arrived from other seas in recent years are transforming the Mediterranean. Some of them are irremediably destabilizing Mediterranean underwater habitats and are successfully progressing by taking advantage of the fragile state of conservation of ecosystems.
- The waters of the Mediterranean are heating up 20% faster than the rest of the planet.
For all these reasons, we, the undersigned, request the Spanish government to take urgent and necessary action by reserving 30% of the Spanish Mediterranean watersand stopping fishing activities in these reserve zones. The objective is to promote the recovery of local fisheries, restore water quality, avoid the collapse of species and ecosystems, and contribute to the absorption of carbon from the atmosphere.