September 29, 2020 - While we are awaiting the designation of a protected area in the Katič Sea, habitats of the sea meadow Posidonia Oceanica are slowly disappearing, claims NGO Green Home.
The NGO, in cooperation with the Montenegrin Society of Ecologists (CDE) and the Mediterranean Center for Environmental Monitoring, conducted monitoring and analysis of the seagrass Posidonia Oceanica in the waters of the future protected area in the Katič Sea. Monitoring was conducted at five locations in the space between the Black Cape and Cape Skočiđevojka. Ecologists analyzed the Posidonia density, distribution to the seabed, lower population limit, and resistance to depth.
Analysis of the data obtained on the condition of the Posidonia meadows in the area of the future protected sea area in Katič shows that the situation is good, but not ideal. Particularly, regressive changes were observed, especially compared to 2010 measurements, according to the NGO Green Home.
The markers of Posidonia's settlement's borders, placed in 2010 in the seabed of the island of Sveta Neđelja, indicated that the area had been receding.
- Knowing about the change in shore in front of Hotel As and the significant turbidity of the water in this locality, which occurs mainly in the winter months after heavy rains and washing of the terrain, it is most likely that the reduced transparency of seawater caused these regressive changes in Posidonia meadows. In addition to soil leaching, there may be other negative impacts such as wastewater spills, meadow erosion due to anchoring or other physical loads, but also seawater flow, which is very pronounced in some locations - they point out in their statement.
The seagrass Posidonia Oceanica is a protected species under national and international legislation (Habitat Directive 92/43 / EU) and is one of the two most essential oxygen producers on the planet. Posidonia Oceanica is exclusively distributed in the Mediterranean Sea and is of great importance to sea flora and fauna. Precisely because of its ecological importance, it has been added to the UNESCO World Heritage List. However, as they explain, due to negative anthropogenic influences (pollution, anchoring, trapping, explosive poaching, and other physical-mechanical impacts), this endemic species is has become endangered.
To prevent further degradation of sea meadows, Green Home and its partners have defined recommendations for reducing and removing negative impacts on this critical marine habitat, and ensuring its protection. These recommendations include ensuring continuous monitoring of the state of Posidonia, elimination and reduction of negative anthropogenic influences, and the development of educational programs tailored to both local communities and tourists on the importance and protection of marine biodiversity.
- If we want to protect marine habitats that are in regression, Montenegro must declare the first protected area in the sea, which has been waiting for such a formal act for 13 years - Green Home reports.
The activity of monitoring and analyzing sea meadows was carried out through the project Support to Local Communities in the Promotion and Protection of the Future Protected Area in the Sea - Katič, funded by the Partnership Fund for Critical Ecosystems (CEPF).