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Posidonia Forum

Taula redona mmaa sppToday saw the celebration of Posidonia Forum, part of Save Posidonia Project, a festival which takes place October 12-15 on Formentera. Opening words were spoken by the Formentera Council's vice-president, Susana Labrador, who reminded crowds that the festival was put on by the administration in support of a broader effort, Year of Sustainable Tourism.

Labrador called the gathering “a deep-dive into posidonia” and a look at “the threats posed to it and challenges facing conservation,” all part of an effort to make tourism and environmental conservation compatible. Pilar Costa, secretary of the president's office of the Govern balear, also gave welcoming words, thanking the Formentera Council for carrying the project forward and highlighting the Palma administration's own work to bring together tourism and environmentally responsible policies, such as the “sustainable tourism tax” (Impost de Turisme Sostenible).

Talks and round-tables
All day long experts in the field gave conferences on tourism and the environment. Of five morning events, the first, on innovation and technology, was conducted via video with a representative of the World Tourism Organisation. Next came talks by Pierre-Yves Cousteau and biologist Manu San Félix, the former describing a project dubbed Cousteau Divers on Formentera and the latter sharing with audiences his own personal trajectory in “From Formentera to National Geographic”. Greenpeace's Elvira Giménez led a discussion on plastics in world oceans, now and in the future, and Clara Calatayud closed the morning series with a talk about “The shark Odissey” subtitled “Ecotourism and the search for conservation”.

Afterwards, a round-table discussion on tourism had the participation of Ms Calatayud, Xàbia mayor José Chulvi, Cabildo del Hierro's vice-president Juan Pedro Sánchez, Govern balear ministry of tourism spokesman Pere Muñoz, president of Formentera's league of hotels, Vicent Tur, and the island's tourism minister, Alejandra Ferrer. Panelists discussed the importance of environmental safeguards when developing so-called “ecotourist” products.

The programme resumed at 3.00pm with WWF's Oscar Esparza, who unpacked some of the efforts afoot in Spain to protect marine life. Raquel Vaquer-Sunyer, of IMEDEA, tried to get at the question of what we know about posidonia today, and GEN-GOB's Francisco Sobrado gave a talk framing the sea as “a shared responsibility”. Guillem Roca spoke to audiences about “observers of the seas” while Irene Díez gave a presentation called “Upcycling the Oceans” in which the Ecoalf representative talked about the promise of an initiative of the circular economy making rubbish fashionable.

Afterwards came a round-table discussion on the environment that included former Oceana president Xavier Pastor, Raul José Alvarez of the Ghostfishing project, GEN-GOB's Marià Marí, Elvira García, of the directorate general of coasts and the sea, Marta Castelló, chief of the Eivissa-Formentera Ses Salines nature preserve and environment secretary Daisee Aguilera. The panel of experts spoke in unison about the need for reverse growth in protecting the environment and why education and outreach will be key to tackling challenges on the horizon.

Anchorage on Formentera's seaboard
For her part, CiF environment secretary Daisee Aguilera used forum to unveil an initiative focussed on anchoring boats and the ability of Formentera's seaboard to accommodate them.

According to Aguilera, the proposal currently awaiting review by the Govern balear is based first on physically measurable criteria—“quantification of sand, current posidonia mapping and, in contested areas, expanded swimming zones that stretch 200 metres outward from the coast”—and second on environmental factors (placing anchors or buoys on posidonia is expressly prohibited, for instance). Aguilera described the creation of “a 10-metre buffer zone between posidonia meadows and the shore ensure the plant is safe from chains and anchors as they are dragged about”.

The Council proposes is a variable system of controls whereby anchorage is permitted in offshore areas with vast stretches of open sand, such as Cala Saona, but subject to measures such as the so-called “eco-buoys” in areas closer to posidonia meadows, like the beaches at Illetes. The number of ships that can drop anchor will depend on three factors (size, weather conditions and wind flow) and will be administered through an online system of pay reservations. Visitors to the website will also be able to consult an up-to-the-minute feed with the number of ships allowed to drop anchor.

Boats will be required to register across an online platform that enables checks that payment and registration has occurred. Secretary Aguilera launched a call for “a simpler, easier system of fines based on the size of offending ships” and looked ahead to the inclusion of posidonia meadows in nautical maps”.

Lastly, Aguilera stressed that any system of checks would need to include a recycling and waste collection programme for watercraft. The system of pay would be based on the weight and associated management costs of the rubbish collected.

Closing ceremony
The forum's closing ceremony was led by Govern vice-president and tourism secretary Biel Barceló, who highlighted his office's ardent support for the Save Posidonia Project, including presentations in Germany, France and Italy and press trips with German and Spanish journalists to marshal awareness of the project and how funding will be used.

According to Barceló, it is a project that “fits perfectly with our strategy on sustainable tourism development, the point of which is to make tourism compatible with the environment and quality of life for residents of the areas”. In addition, he stressed the significance of the project given the designation of 2017 as International Year for Sustainable Tourism. It bears remembering that the Save Posidonia Project also received recognition from the Govern as the year's best sustainable tourism initiative.

Alejandra Ferrer, Formentera's vice-president and tourism secretary, gave closing comments as well. In it, she highlighted some of the challenges ahead, such as regulating anchorage, effluent runoff, improperly disposed of plastics and waste management.

Said the secretary: “Sustainability is no longer an option; it is an imperative. We must continue working to ensure Formentera remains one of the best options for travellers, as a holiday destination, and for our children, as a home”. To get there, Ferrer called on public institutions, the private sector and the public to protect local ecosystems and posidonia. “The Mediterranean's very biodiversity depends on it,” she said.

Also noteworthy were three visual art shows by Elena Urizar that took place during the day. For all the details, visit the festival's website at www.saveposidoniaproject.org. The programme continues through Sunday.

Save Posidonia Project Festival rolls into town

Foto spp presentacioToday marked the start of Save Posidonia Project Festival, four days and more than one hundred activities encompassing sports, culture, education and the environment.

Most of the events will take shape in the island's nerve centre, Sant Francesc, between plaça de la Constitució, avinguda Porto Salé and jardí de Ses Eres, where artists and artisans of the island have set up stands to showcase their own posidonia-inspired work.

Attendees will be treated to a fashion show from some of the island's own designers. Among them are Gemma Mengual and Cristina Piaget, two particularly special models who will crown the Friday event with their undersea runway experience.

Visitors of an audiovisual space in the plaza will see assorted projections on the environment, starting with the Festival's opening event, a screening of the Formentera-shot Cousteau Divers followed by a brief conversation with the filmmaker, Pierre-Yves Cousteau, about why posidonia's preservation is critical.

Workshops for kids
It wouldn't be a festival without youth education. Formentera pupils built their own display of the undersea world and students from Mallorca produced a comic strip; both are on view. Plus, there will be activities that show kids fun ways to learn about posidonia.

This morning, fifty or so scientists in the Blue Carbon initiative got a chance to see Formentera's marine ecosystem up close. With half of the group on oxygen bottles and the other half in snorkelling gear, participants surveyed the waters near the beaches of Es Pujols. The scientists are running a programme about blue carbon.

Tomorrow, the local cinema (Sala de Cultura) will host the Posidonia Forum, where associations, agencies and key players in tourism and ecology will come together for talks and round-table discussions about the outlook for Formentera's tourism and environment moving forward.

Formentera Council vice-president Susana Labrador and Govern presidential cabinet secretary Pilar Costa will speak to audiences at the Forum's 10.00am inaugural ceremony. The island's environment secretary, Daisee Aguilera, will lead a presentation on the Formentera Coast Anchorage Project (Projecte de Fondejos del Litoral de Formentera). At 6.00pm, Govern balear vice-president and tourism secretary Biel Barceló, together with his opposite number on the island, Alejandra Ferrer, will conclude the evening.

For all the information on Save Posidonia Project Festival, visit www.saveposidoniaproject.org.

Renewed push to control red weevil spread

foto tractament becutThe Formentera Council's agriculture office wishes to inform island residents with palm trees at risk of infestation by the red palm weevil (rhynchophorus ferrugineus) that the adult pest's airborne activity spikes in October and November. The mature weevils set out from already heavily infested trees in search of new sources of food —healthy palm trees— to colonise.

The Formentera Council wishes to stress the importance of authorised, preventive phytosanitary treatments that can be applied in October, November and, subject to temperatures, December.

The Office of Agriculture has urged residents to avoid pruning at risk palm trees until temperatures cool, most likely in January and February, in order to capitalise on the weevil's period of relative inactivity.

Decree 04/2016 of January 29, 2016 (published January 30 in number 15 of the BOIB) designates control of this highly damaging pest as an issue of public interest.

For more information, contact the Formentera Council's Office of Agriculture.

Telephone: 971321087. Ext 3166

Sneak peek at small business group's training courses

Foto presentacio pimefAt 11.30am this morning in the hall of ceremonies of Formentera Council's central office, the small and medium-sized business association of Eivissa and Formentera, or PIMEF, hosted a presentation on a series of training courses soon to be offered by the group. Pep Mayans and Lidia Álvarez, PIMEF's chairman and director, were joined at the event by Alejandra Ferrer, trade secretary for the Formentera Council, which is partnering with PIMEF to put on the training.

Eight courses, offered at PIMEF's office from October 24 to November 6 and subsidised by the Formentera Council, are free and open to the public. The classes are part of a partnership between PIMEF and the Council on business training and consulting.

24/10    Assistència sanitària immediata (“First-response patient care”). 4.30pm to 8.30pm. Pimef office
26/10    Parlar de convèncer (“Talk about conviction”). Coach Brigitte Bobet. 6.00pm to 8.00pm. Pimef office
31/10    Control i aprofitament de matèries primeres en cuina (“Tracking and maximising products in the kitchen”). 4.30pm to 8.30pm. Pimef office
2/11    Disseny d'ofertes gastronòmiques (“Designing a gastro experience”). 4.30pm to 8.30pm. Pimef office
6/11    Higiene Postural en perruqueria i estètica (“Good posture for beauty specialists”). 5.00pm to 9.00pm. Pimef Office
9/11    Burnout. Pràctiques MINDFULNESS per l'estrès laboral (“Using mindfulness to tackle work-related stress”). 4.30pm to 8.30pm. Pimef office
14/11    Community Manager. 4.00pm to 8.00pm. Pimef Office
16/11    Aparadorisme (“Window dressing”). 4.00pm to 8.00pm. Pimef office

To register, contact the Pimef by phone at 971322520 or send an email to info@pimef.es.

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