Workshop to update the SACs Management Plans of La Palma

We participated in the workshop updating the management plans of the SACs of Fuencaliente and Garafía, giving continuity through the ECOTOUR Project, to a work initiated in the research group more than ten years ago with the MARMAC Project.

Last 9th of May we participated in one of the workshops organized by the Ministry for the Ecological Transition, through the Department of Sustainability of the coast and the sea, that will serve to update the management plans of the 24 Special Areas of Conservation (SAC) of the Canary Islands.

We attended the workshop held in La Palma with the aim of working collectively contributing to the current situation of the ZECs Fuencaliente and Costa de Garafía. There, the most relevant impacts were put on the table in both areas, highlighting the most vulnerable spots and activities that require more attention when it comes to materialize the measures and regulations in the management plans.

Taller ZEC Garafía y Fuencaliente
Workshop held in La Palma to update the management plans for the SACs of Fuencaliente and Garafía.

More than a decade ago, the research group on Technologies, management and environmental biogeochemistry had participated, through the MARMAC project, in the study of the SAC of Fuencaliente, drawing the environmental values of the area, conducting an analysis SWOT (strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats) and proposing a series of measures to help their conservation.

On this occasion, we could see that many of the proposed measures are still of interest to the area, such as the regulation of nautical activities, especially those that endanger the integrity of the caves in the area, one of the Community Interest Habitats for which the area is protected at European level.

Figure extracted from the Ministry resources for the Fuencaliente SAC, depicting the main activities and uses of the area, and the main pressures and threats (Source: MITECO).

On the other hand, bottlenose dolphins and loggerhead turtles are also species of Community Interest for which prevention measures were proposed regarding possible damage caused by collisions and interaction with marine debris, among others. The impacts of the aquaculture activity (mainly escapes), the presence of uncontrolled discharges or spills and marine debris, were some of the impacts reinforced in the working session.

The participation in this workshop has served the research group to achieve its tasks in the EcoTour project, which works for the proposal of conservation measures in coastal areas of high natural value, as is the case of Las Marciegas (La Aldea, Gran Canaria), and other selected areas in the Macaronesian Region.

Blue Atlantic Port Services: European Maritime Day- Lisbon

The Atlantic Blue Port Services-@BluePortS- project will be addressing the contentious issue of ships effluents, in particular oiled water, ballast water and invasive species at a number of events, demonstrations and exhibitions taking place during European Maritime Day 16th-17th May 2019 in Lisbon, Portugal.

The Atlantic Blue Port Services project –
@BluePortS – aim is to find a consensus for ‘adequate’ port services for the management of effluents that is attractive for ship owners and manageable for ports. The Interreg funded project has brought together 24 partners from the Atlantic area including port authorities, port reception facility operators, public authorities, businesses, cluster organisations, national authorities and research centres.
The consortium will take an active part in the European Maritime Day to promote the project results, meet with relevant organisations and discuss related regulations and environmental concerns. In particular the project will discuss the IMO Ballast Water Management Convention implementation scheme and the environmental risks linked to invasive species.
The IMO Ballast Water Management Convention is a new challenge that ship owners, ports and national authorities need to address. Its implementation has unforeseen costs and complexity although everybody agrees on its rationale. Is there a way to reduce its economic impact and even facilitate its operational implementation? This is one of the questions the Atlantic Blue Port project hopes to address.

The Atlantic Port Services project will have three stands throughout the European Maritime Days event. The stands aim to present the three main issues being addressed by the project; what are the risks associated with shipping and port activities regarding invasive species and pollutants? What are the seawater monitoring facilities they use to detect pollution? And how port reception and treatment facilities for ships effluents contribute to reduce marine pollution.

To register to attend the European Maritime Days event visit:
To register to our workshopn and side events (demos and visit of the port of Lisbon):

We repeat the calibration trials for the microplastic sampler onboard R/V Ángeles Alvariño

On the first days of december we repeated the microplastic sampler calibration test onboard the oceanographic vessel Ángeles Alvariño of the Spanish Institute of Oceanography. We had the chance to go together with the colleagues from the Oceanic Platform of the Canary Islands (PLOCAN) in its biannual oceanographic campaign to the Station of Temporary Oceanic Series of the Canary Islands (ESTOC).

This collaboration allowed us once again to test the improvements of the microplastic sampling device for opportunity vessels that we are developing. Thus, one of the fundamental tests consisted of the repetition of the calibration, ensuring, among other parameters, what is the minimum sampling time and volume required for a validated performance.

The sampling prototype, which can be operated at the time that the oceanographic vessel navigates without interfering with its course or speed, was launched both on the routes from Las Palmas de Gran Canaria to ESTOC (and back), and at several stations (at the oceanic point in ESTOC and three stations at the PLOCAN Test Site, near the coast).

The procedures followed were the same as in the previous campaign, in march of this year, so that we are expecting to get results of the comparison among the two calibration trials in order to analyze the propotipe performance.