The latest salvo in the ongoing battle between the Canarian Government and Repsol against the start of prospecting in local waters comes from the World Wildlife Fund. The WWF are asking Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy to stop the petrol extraction process and create a whale and dolphin sanctuary instead in the sea surrounding Lanzarote and Fuerteventura.
An on-line petition has been launched to gather signatures from residents in favour of this latest scheme, but the likelihood of such a proposal being adopted is slim. Especially when the normally punitive Department of the Environment, or Medio Ambiente as it is known in Spain, has approved the application by Repsol for the oil company to proceed, while in the past it has denied permission to the Spanish military to undertake manoeuvres in the same waters.
The WWF cites the use of sonar and a greater number of vessels in these waters as activities that will have a deleterious effect on the whale and dolphin populations in the Atlantic Ocean around the Canaries. Quite apart from the affects that may arise through the use of echo-sounding equipment on marine mammals, which is likely to interfere with the animals own methods of communcation, there are also fears that oil spills will significantly harm local seabird and turtle populations.
The World Wildlife Fund have opposed the plans from the moment they were first put forward and are urging the Spanish courts, the European Commission and local residents to put their weight behind the rejection of the proposals.
Arrecife´s Luxury Marina
In other local maritime news, the development company overseeing the new sport marina in Arrecife has announced that the opening of Lanzarote Marina should take place in mid September this year. Some thirty million Euros will have been invested in the harbour, which is located in the Puerto Naos area of Arrecife and once completed will give Lanzarote one of the best sport marinas in the whole of Spain.
In order to accommodate the larger type of luxury yacht, the port is being dragged to ensure that even when the sea is at low tide, this type of vessel can be comfortably moored in the harbour. Much of the new infrastructure, such as the construction of shops and restaurants, has nearly been completed, as well as the pontoons with a variety of different sized moorings. The remaining work to ready the harbour for business carries on apace.