LPN congratulates the Captaincy of Portimão for the seizure of red coral

The League for the Protection of Nature (LPN) sent a letter this Monday to the Captain of the Ports of Portimão and […]

This Monday, the League for the Protection of Nature (LPN) sent a letter to the Captain of the Ports of Portimão and Lagos to «express the congratulations of the members of this association for the effort developed in the defense of the biodiversity of the sea on the Portuguese coast» and congratulate « for the success of the recent seizure of red coral».

In a letter signed by Alexandra Cunha, president of the national board of LPN, the association asks that its congratulations be also conveyed «to the team that was on the ground, in the certainty that the entire Portuguese society was proud of this action in favor of the defense of nature ».

The LPN also informs, in the same letter, that it will immediately contact the Secretary of State for the Sea and ICNF to demand a survey of the distribution of the most important areas for express protection of this species on the Portuguese coast, and more support for inspection actions.

The Maritime Police announced that he caught six men last Friday – three Portuguese and as many Spaniards -, off the Algarve, illegally catching a rare type of deep-water red coral, using sophisticated deep-diving equipment.

According to the Maritime Police, the suspects had mounted a very sophisticated operation, as they even had the support of a hyperbaric chamber, installed aboard one of the Spanish vessels, allowing for dives to depths of 90 meters.

The LPN recalled, in the letter sent to the Captaincy of Portimão, that, in Portugal, the distribution and conservation status of this species are unknown, “which makes it even more vulnerable to predatory actions on marine biodiversity like the one we just mentioned. to watch".

Although this species is not yet included in CITES, despite recent efforts in this direction by the IUCN, the red corals of the species corallium rubrum are species present in Habitat 1170 – Rocky reef of the Habitat Directive, in Annex V (species in need of regulation) of the Habitat Directive, in the list of species protected in the Mediterranean by the Berne Convention (Annex III) and also, since November 2011, proposal to be included in OSPAR's list of vulnerable and declining species for Portugal and Spain.

These species are very vulnerable organisms, as they have a very long life cycle, growing only 0,25 to 1,5 mm per year and only reaching sexual maturity at 7-12 years of age. Due to the size of the species seized in the Maritime Police action off the Algarve coast, the corals will be over 40 years old.

LPN adds that, «in view of a very intense demand and low recovery capacity, it is an extremely fragile species, so several researchers and environmentalists have launched several awareness campaigns the general public and the jewelery industry for not using it, with encouraging results on both sides'.