Life+ Festival « Seas of Posidonia » drops anchor in El Ejido

08 June 2013 | News story

On the 8th and 9th of June, El Ejido municipality welcomed the 3rd edition of the Life+ Festival “Seas of Posidonia”. Through entertaining and fun activities, this festival raises awareness in the population on the crucial role played by marine meadows in the good health of the littoral. Indeed, they serve as a habitat and breeding ground for many commercial species, as water purifiers and as carbon sinks.

The festival is a part of the Life+ project for the conservation of Posidonia Oceanica meadows in the Andalusian part of the Mediterranean. It was inaugurated on Friday, June 7th, in the city hall of El Ejido, by the Mayor Francisco Góngora. He pointed out that “the objective of this event is to spread the benefits provided by marine meadows, as well as the costs induced by their loss, such as the repercussions on fish populations and beach regeneration or the deterioration of touristic attractions.”

The festival coincided with the World Oceans Day, celebrated on the 8th of June. Many activities were organized in the Municipal Park for the occasion, such as street parades, workshops, a puppet theatre, dance performances by the Adagio Academy and the Dancing School of Circulo, a photo exposition and concerts of the groups “El fin del Mundo” and “El Juca”.

Góngora stressed “the importance of preserving our environmental activities”. According to him, “it is fundamental to be aware of our environment and to raise consciousness. This is the purpose of activities, projects and events like the ones we are welcoming today.”

José Manuel Ortiz, the territorial delegate of Agriculture, Fisheries and Environment, was also at the inauguration of the festival. He demanded “the implication of sea users in the defense of Mediterranean underwater plants, keeping in mind that Almeria has 16 000 hectares of Posidonia meadows, 92% of the andalusian littoral total.”

This meeting was organized by the Centre for Mediterranean Cooperation of the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN), in collaboration with El Ejido municipality and the NGO Aula del Mar. The festival falls within the activities of the Life+ project for the conservation of Posidonia Oceanica in Andalusia. The Life+ project is coordinated by the Regional Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Environment of Andalusia and co-financed by CEPSA.

Mar Otero, an IUCN technician, invited everyone to participate in the festival and to learn in a fun way the importance of Posidonia, “a unique species, present in the Mediterranean, which shows preoccupying signs of regression. The marine meadows form important coastal ecosystems and are good indicators of the health of our beaches.”

On Friday, educational activities on the environment were organized for school children. At the same time, local representatives of the economic and social sectors gathered around a round table to discuss the environmental situation of Posidonia meadows and to make propositions for the environment conservation in El Ejido.

On his part, David Alarcon, who coordinated the awareness campaign “Posidonia, 100% Mediterranean” of CIRCE (Conservation, Information and Research on Cetaceans), pointed out “the ecologic and economic importance of keeping Posidonia meadows. They are estimated to generate a revenue of 18,000 euros per hectare for municipalities through fishing and tourism.”

Life+ Posidonia in Andalusia concentrates its actions on ten Mediterranean sites of community importance: Levante Almeriense seabed, San Andrés island, Gata-Níjar cape, Roquetas de Mar reefs, Punta Entinas-Sabinar seabed, Calahonda-Castel de Ferro cliffs and seabed, Maro-Cerro Gordo cliffs, El Saladillo-Punta de Baños and Bahía de Estepona seabed.

For further information : Mar Otero.

Mediterranean landscape