PROVINCIA DE ALICANTE – Scientists have developed a new app to better protect the important fields of Posidonia oceanica, commonly known as Neptune grass or Mediterranean tapeweed, in the sea of the Costa Blanca. The purpose of the app is that pleasure yachts do not anchor here and thus ruin the important fields.
According to research one hectare of Posidonia provides five times more oxygen than one hectare of forest in the Amazon. Therefore, it is important to protect these sea meadows. They are not called the ‘lungs of the Mediterranean’ for nothing.
The free app was created through collaboration between the Fundación Oceanogràfic, the Mediterranean Fund of Banca March and the Ciudad de las Artes y Ciencias. The app makes it easier for pleasure yachts to find out where those seagrass beds are located. They can then decide to anchor somewhere else to avoid damaging the fragile natural habitat with their heavy anchors.
During the presentation of the application ‘Posidonia Project’, this Wednesday in Xàbia, Iñigo Colomo, in charge of the management of the Mediterranean Fund, emphasised that the application “will help users to navigate responsibly through the waters of the Marina Alta”.
The ‘Project Posidonia’ app informs nautical users about the presence of Posidonia meadows on the seabed of Dénia, Xàbia, Poble Nou de Benitaxell, Teulada-Moraira, Benissa and Calpe. It concerns an area of 9,500 hectares of meadows that fall under the network of marine Natura 2000 areas. These are of great value for biodiversity in the Mediterranean.
The application works with geolocation technology. This will identify the boat when it is in an area with Posidonia fields. The app user then receives a notification on his phone warning him about the prohibition to anchor in the zone in question.
The app also includes the ‘Ocean Wiki’ section, a news section with relevant information about undersea forests and the regulations related to these areas and a guide to good practices to protect them.
The region of Valencia has the second largest area of Posidonia meadows in the Spanish Mediterranean after the Balearic Islands. 76% of this Neptune grass is located in the Alicante region. The action will be a very important reference to following the evolution of these meadows. They have been recognised by the EU as a priority habitat.
Related post: Mediterranean
Seagrass beds provide breeding grounds for organisms such as sea urchins, sea snails and herbivorous fish. More than four hundred species of sea plants and a thousand sea animals live in and around the seagrass beds. Many of these sea creatures play an important role in the local gastronomy on the islands and the countries around the Mediterranean.
Neptune grass absorbs CO2 and returns oxygen in return. In addition, the grass offers protection to hundreds of fish species. In addition, because it grows in shallow waters, it helps against the erosion of the beaches. Posidonia regularly washes up on the beaches in the form of balls. Researchers found plastic particles in these balls and concluded in 2021 that Neptune grass helps to purify seawater by filtering plastic.