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This marine reserve is home to the Mallorca Stingray Survey, click here to find out more about Asociacion Ondine´s 12 month study of local stingrays.
The marine reserve of the Bay of Palma, located in the northeast margin, was created in 1982 by the Interinsular General Council at the request of the tourism sector. However, the regulation of activities in the reserve did not become effective until 1999 (BOIB. 8 of June 22) as part of the fisheries management policy of the Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries of the Government of the Balearic Islands.
This reserve includes the coastal area with up to 30 meters depth, between Club Náutico of s’Arenal and Cape Regana. In the reserve almost 50% of ecosystems with local Mediterranean characteristic can be found: meadows of seaweed (Posidonia oceanica), spots with high concentration of biodiversity, especially of invertebrates and fish fry, and sandy bottoms with its associated fauna (molluscs, crustaceans, echinoderms, etc..).
Also noteworthy is the presence of benthic species as international conventions require special protection for them. This is the case of algae (Cystoseira Balearica, Cystoseira ercegovicii and Cystoseira stricta) and invertebrates (Pinna nobilis and Litophaga litophaga). Also worth mentioning is the presence target fisheries of the artisanal fishing fleet for bivalve molluscs (Chamelea gallina) in the northern sector of the reserve and cuttlefish (Sepia officinalis). In addition, near Cape Enderrocat, since 1990 a series of polygons of artificial reefs are installed. They have the function of preserving their seabeds from illegal bottom trawling and providing shelter for marine species.
Globally, and for all benthic habitats present, so far 24 communities and 340 species have been cataloged, including the red algae or red algae seaweed and the best represented group of fish. Those numbers can be considered low when compared with those in the marine reserves of Freus d’Eivissa i Formentera and Nord de Menorca but it simply reflects the smaller size of the reserve less diversity.
The reserve covers a total of 2,394 ha and has great importance as it is protecting an area that for centuries has been subjected to strong human pressure.
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In the South of the island next to Cape Enderrocat is the No-Take Area (NTA) of the reserve. It is located in the centre of the reserve covering about 2 km2. The area is dominated by seagrass meadows (Posidonia Oceanica), where any kind of extraction and anchoring is strictly prohibited.
The points that define this integral protection zone are:
· The intersection of the shoreline with the parallel 39 º 28.60 ‘N
· 39 ° 28.43 ‘N / 002 ° 42.26’ E
· 39 ° 27.55 ‘N / 002 ° 43.62’ E
· The intersection of the shoreline with the parallel 39 º 27.03 ‘N
In the rest of the reserve is artisanal fishing, recreational fishing and spearfishing, with specific regulatory measures that are defined annually, are allowed. Throughout the reserve trawling, purse seine and longline fishing and catching fish and invertebrates whose populations are considered threatened is prohibited. These species include Squatina spp., Scylliorhinus stellaris, Dasyatis pastinaca, Dasyatis centroura, Prionace glauca, Mustelus spp., Sphyrna spp., Torpedo torpedo Tremolor, Hippocampus hippocampus, Hippocampus ramulosus, Nerophis ophidion, Syngnathus abaster, Syngnathus acus and Syngnathus typhle; the crustaceans Maja squinado and Scyllarides latus and the molluscs Charonia rubicunda, Conus mediterraneus, Astraea rugosa and Octopus macropus.