From Wildlife Extra:
Spanish Mediterranean to be exploited
February 2014: Nearly half of Spanish Mediterranean waters would be open to exploration and exploitation should the proposed gas and oil projects in the area gain approval, warns NGO Oceana.
This number (nearly 12 million hectares) does not include the surrounding areas that would be affected by the seismic acquisitions, which according to estimates by Oceana would increase the threatened surface area to 20 or 22 million hectares, or 65 per cent of the Spanish Mediterranean.
“It is an act of recklessness to have hydrocarbon projects, either in progress or pending approval, covering nearly half of Spanish waters in the Mediterranean,” said Xavier Pastor, Executive Director of Oceana in Europe. “We must not wait for a spill to occur to start regretting the damage that has been done. The projects affect fishing grounds and migratory routes of cetaceans, tuna and sharks, so that as soon as the seismic surveys begin, thousands of organisms will be seriously affected.”
The affected regions are Andalusia, with projects over approximately 550,000 hectares in the Alboran Sea, and Catalonia, Valencia and the Balearic Islands, where seismic acquisition projects and initial drilling would cover an area of around 11 million hectares if the overlapping areas are excluded. The areas of some of the projects still at the approval phase partly overlap, which would mean zones that might suffer the activities of different companies.
“The determination to exploit hydrocarbons in the Mediterranean would leave Spain out of step with European environmental policy. Fortunately, the government still has time to refuse the permits. The scientific information available regarding the species inhabiting the areas that are to be opened up to oil and gas exploration is more than sufficient reason to do so,” said Ricardo Aguilar, Director of Research for Oceana in Europe.