The Biodiversity Foundation coordinates the LIFE INTEMARES project, under which a scientific proposal of sites of high ecological value for the adaptation of the marine Natura 2000 Network has been carried out, with the participation of 170 scientists from 65 organizations in the field of research, conservation and management of the marine environment. On the basis of this proposal, 11 areas of high ecological value have been identified as having the potential to be protected. These areas total an additional 92,401 ha and would represent 9.24% of the potential new protected area.
These sites will be added to the seven that have been studied within the framework of the project for several years, and will represent the protection of 25% of the national marine surface in 2025, a milestone that will allow Spain to make significant progress in the international marine conservation commitments contemplated in the Biodiversity Strategy 2030, the Declaration of Climate and Environmental Emergency and in the Recovery, Transformation and Resilience Plan.
The LIFE INTEMARES project advances towards the objective of achieving effective management of the marine areas of the Natura 2000 Network in Spain, with the active participation of the sectors involved and with research as basic tools.
The Biodiversity Foundation of the Ministry for Ecological Transition and the Demographic Challenge coordinates the project. The Ministry itself, through the General Directorate of Biodiversity, Forests and Desertification and the Subdirectorate for the Protection of the Sea; the Regional Government of Andalusia, through the Department of Sustainability, Environment and Blue Economy, as well as the Environment and Water Agency; the Spanish Institute of Oceanography; AZTI; the University of Alicante; the Polytechnic University of Valencia; the Spanish Fishing Confederation, SEO/BirdLife and WWF Spain participate as partners. It has the contribution of the LIFE Program of the European Union.
LIFE A-MAR project: the aim of this project is to reduce the impacts on the marine areas of the Natura 2000 Network in Italy and Spain by improving the knowledge and participation of the agents involved and of the users of the sea linked to sectors such as tourism, fishing, diving, nautical-recreational activities, as well as NGOs, tour operators and port authorities, among others. The Federazione Italiana Parchi e Riserve Naturali – Europarc Italia coordinates the LIFE A-MAR NATURA 2000 project, which has three collaborating partners: Triton (Italy), LIPU (Italy) and the Biodiversity Foundation of the Ministry for Ecological Transition and the Demographic Challenge.
LIFE ECOREST project: seeks to reverse the poor state of conservation of benthic habitats affected by fishing activities and restore their main functions through (O1) active restoration strategies, which will be implemented (O2) in close collaboration between fishermen scientists and public administration and (O3) will be transferred to other areas. The Spanish National Research Council (CSIC) coordinates the ECOREST project, which has as partners the Biodiversity Foundation of the Ministry for Ecological Transition and the Demographic Challenge; the Federation of Fishermen’s Guilds of Girona; the University of Barcelona and WWF-Spain.
In the new programming period 2021-2027, the Pleamar Program evolves and reinforces actions related to research and conservation, with a special focus on the marine Natura 2000 Network. Thus, actions are redoubled to support the fishing and aquaculture sector in its commitment to achieve increasingly sustainable activities, reduce marine pollution and promote the ecological transition to improve knowledge and the protection, conservation and restoration of the marine environment.
It is co-financed by the European Maritime and Fisheries Fund and the European Maritime, Fisheries and Aquaculture Fund.
It seeks to respond to the need to reduce cetacean bycatch in EU fisheries, especially in the Bay of Biscay and the Iberian coast, a threat to the survival of these protected species. This objective is in line with those of the Marine Strategy Framework Directive (MSFD), the Habitats Directive and the Common Fisheries Policy. The project involves 15 partners from Spain, France and Portugal to strengthen collaboration and scientific work, in collaboration with the fisheries sector. CSIC coordinates the project and counts as Spanish partners with the Secretary of State for the Environment and the Biodiversity Foundation of the Ministry for Ecological Transition and the Demographic Challenge, as well as the General Secretariat of Fisheries of the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food. The Spanish Institute of Oceanography and AZTI also participate.
Project MSP-OR: the main objective of the MSP-OR project is to advance the implementation of maritime planning processes and contribute to the development and improvement of marine spatial plans in European Macaronesia and French Guiana, supporting the work of the competent authorities in the establishment and adoption of the MSP Directive. The project involves 12 partners from three EU countries with outermost regions: Portugal, Spain and France, and involves national and regional spatial planning authorities, other institutional entities and other partners with scientific and technical expertise.
The Biodiversity Foundation manages a call for grants to support stranding and rescue networks of marine species, endowed with €4.25 million. Thanks to these grants, 15 projects are already underway, achieving a wide distribution along the entire Spanish coast with a stranding network present in the 10 autonomous communities with coastline (Andalusia, Region of Murcia, Valencia, Catalonia, Balearic Islands, Basque Country, Cantabria, Principality of Asturias, Galicia, Canary Islands) and the Autonomous City of Ceuta. All the projects contribute to reinforcing the stranding network, with rescue actions, first aid, transfer to specialized centers for stranded marine fauna, clinical diagnosis and marking of specimens, recovery of individuals and reintroduction into the natural environment.
The Foundation has reinforced the training program aimed at the personnel of the public administrations responsible for the management of the marine Natura 2000 Network and other recipients such as teachers and companies related to the marine environment. This program began in the LIFE INTEMARES project, which is coordinated by the Foundation itself, and is now being promoted thanks to the European Union NextGenerationEU funds, through the Recovery, Transformation and Resilience Plan. Two training sessions have already been held for the Civil Guard Maritime Service and the Navy Diving School.
The Spanish Aquaculture Observatory coordinated by the Biodiversity Foundation serves as a platform for monitoring and analyzing the development of aquaculture in Spain, promoting its sustainability, reinforcing its image in society, supporting research projects, technological development and, especially, environmental innovation, fostering knowledge transfer and supporting international cooperation.