One of the Murcia region’s most internationally recognised natural settings has been granted legal rights as a “human” entity. This month Spain’s national Senate gave the green light to Mar Menor becoming the first ecosystem in Europe to be protected as a “legal person” with its own rights.
The legislation means conservation and preservation of Europe’s largest saltwater lagoon will now be enhanced, and criminal cases can be brought against anyone suspected of polluting Mar Menor or damaging its ecosystem.
More than 600,000 people had signed a petition seeking greater legal protection for the lagoon, leading to a “popular legislative initiative” that received overwhelming support in the Senate: 230 votes in favour, 30 abstentions and just three against.
Over the past year there has been serious concern about the lagoon’s future, after increasing damage was caused by algae and farm nitrates. This summer, however, extensive work was undertaken to clean up the lagoon and protect it from future harm. Official analyses have confirmed that water quality and turbidity is recovering, and overall the coastal aesthetic has also been greatly improved.
Sustainable Activities by the Sea
Meanwhile, the inaugural Mar Menor Fair is currently underway. Continuing until 16 October, the fair is highlighted by more than 100 sports, cultural, gastronomic and leisure activities throughout the area – in San Javier, Cartagena, Los Alcázares and San Pedro del Pinatar.
During the official presentation, Murcia Regional Tourism Institute director Juan Francisco Martínez said, “This event aims to highlight the potential of the Mar Menor as a benchmark for blue tourism and as a privileged natural environment that offers almost endless options. The event will help visitors rediscover this environment through sustainable and environmentally friendly activities.”
The program includes nautical shows, such as the traditional Los Alcázares Surfari, paddle surfing routes at dusk, wine tastings on sailing boats, windsurfing, kitesurfing and scuba diving baptisms, photography, guided tours, concerts, exhibitions, walking and cycling routes, tapas routes, workshops, crafts, cooking shows and graffiti exhibitions.