Nord de Menorca

Nord de Menorca - Marine reserve

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The marine reserve Nord de Menorca was created in June 1999 (BOIB. 81 of June 24) as part of the fisheries management policy of the Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries of the Government of the Balearic Islands. It is located on the north coast of Menorca. It is characterized by its good state of conservation and beautiful landscape and nature. This applies for its sea beds from close to the coast until a depth of over 30m presenting a great heterogeneity and variety of habitats.

You can highlight its ecological interest Posidonia barrier reef Nitja Sa, surface communities Cystoseira algae, the wide variety of communities and extensive photophilic infralittoral rocky areas, with a good representation of benthic species of conservation interest. This includes species such as the red coral (Corallium rubrum), molluscs (Pinna nobilis and Litophaga litophaga) and crustaceans (Palinurus elephas and Scyllarides latus).

Moreover, the wide Bay of Fornells with its predominantly soft sea beds, presents very particular ecological characteristics with the significant presence of communities formed by seagrass (Cymodocea nodosa and Zostera nolti)and algae (Caulerpa prolifera, Flabellia petiolata y Halimeda tuna). A part of this bay was severely degraded by floating cages for fattening of fish that were installed in the late 80’s, and its inclusion within the reserve has allowed natural regeneration.

As for the fish communities the typical species of the Mediterranean are present. It should be noted that in deep waters (between 25 and 150 m) you can find lobster (Palinurus elephas), which has a considerable economic importance for Menorca.

Looking at the map of the reserve a high diversity of habitats and benthic communities is predictable. Indeed, the presence of small bays, coves, cliffs and a large area marked by the 45 m isobath, presents a high ratio between diverse habitats and protected areas. Up to today 628 benthic species have been recorded, most of them algae, fish and shellfish, and up to 35 different biological communities.

The reserve covers an area of 5,119 ha ranging from the Bay of Fornells (eastern boundary) to Cape Gros (western boundary).


Nord de Menorca - Marine reserve

Click on map to download!

There are three areas with different levels of protection in the marine reserve. The No-Take Area (NTA) splits in two parts. The first one is located between Cala Barril and Pla de Mar, which prohibits any extraction and anchoring on seagrass. The second one includes the entire southeastern part of the Bay of Fornells to the tip of Ses Salines, where only artisanal fishing may be authorized during winter. In the rest of the reserve commercial fishing and scuba diving and recreational fishing is allowed, with permission of the Directorate General for Rural and Marine Affairs subject to the general regulations in force.

Throughout the reserve trawling, purse seine and longline fishing, underwater fishing and catching fish and invertebrates whose populations are considered threatened is prohibited. These species include Squatina spp., Scyliorhinus stellaris, Mustelus spp., Dasyatis spp., Hippocampus spp., Nerophis spp., Syngnathus spp., and the invertabrades Maja squinadoCharonia rubicunda, Astraea rugosa and Octopus macropus.

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