Spain plans 'safe corridor' for migrating cetaceous species

Project threatened by oil prospecting initiatives in area

10 January, 13:00

    BARCELONA - The Spanish government is planning to create a 'safe route' for whales, dolphins and other cetaceous species in the Mediterranean Sea.
    The corridor would be located off the eastern coast of Spain between Catalonia and the Balearic Islands and should be established for 2018.
    Spanish Environment Minister Isabel Garcia Tejerina is pushing for the route to be designated a "Specially Protected Zone of Mediterranean Importance" (Zepim) under the terms of the Barcelona Convention for the Protection of the Mediterranean sea against pollution, which was adopted in 1995.
    However, the NGO Alianca Mar Blava has warned that the project could be jeopardised by two offshore oil prospecting initiatives in the area that are awaiting authorisation from the energy ministry, according to Barcelona newspaper La Vanguardia.
    The NGO has reportedly written to Energy Minister Alvaro Nadal telling him that the underwater sound waves produced by the air guns used to prospect for oil could cause "irreversible physiological damage" to cetaceous species in what is supposed to be a 'protected' area. 

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