The Valencian Consell is finalising a decree that will prohibit the collection of posidonia algae from its beaches between October and March in order to protect the coastline by retaining the sand.
They say that it will ensure transparent water due to the enormous oxygenation capacity, along the 466 kilometres of Valencian coastline. Its accumulation on the beaches is also a determining factor when it comes to retaining the sand and preventing the regression of the coastline.
The decree, inspired by results already experienced in the Balearic Islands, will regulate the anchoring of boats on the protected seaweed meadows, now totally out of control and which has a very negative impact on the waters of the province of Alicante.
The objective is to better maintain the conservation of the protected seaweed meadows and the biological communities of which they are part.
Of special environmental value, the meadows reduce the energy of the waves and currents, reducing erosion and the loss of sand on the beaches, where they also play an active role in natural regeneration, allowing new growths and bonding the sediment.
Alfonso Ramos, professor of Marine Sciences and Biology at the University of Alicante highlighted the importance of the “heaps of algae” (banquettes) that accumulate on the shores at the edge of the beach, and the “Key” role they play in sand protection. “They are structures (formed) with the leaves and stems of the Posidonia marine plant that accumulate in large quantities, creating barriers that protect the beach from the loss of sand and provide nutrients to the sandy environment.”
In addition to their role in the retention of sand, these “algae” produce organic matter -35-40 tons of dry matter per hectare and year-, and above all are a great source of oxygenation -five to 20 litres of water per meter. square- and habitat for more than 400 species of plants and 1,000 species of animals, many of them of commercial interest. They also capture CO2, acting as a mitigating element for climate change.
The removal of the algae represents a large expense for the town councils in tourist municipalities, and a significant income for cleaning companies.
Despite the fact that many locals know the favourable effects of its accumulation, and that its presence is synonymous with environmental quality, tourists associate the presence of banquettes or the smell that posidonia gives off in the sun with negligence and disease. Complaints that have even led to demonstrations due to the presence of algae.