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Spain is one of the richest European countries in marine biodiversity. It has 8.000 Km. of coastline with 23 million inhabitants, which is 58% of the Spanish population. Due to the increasing pressure of human activities in the marine environment, health of the oceans and the natural resources that live in them is decreasing. Protection of our seas is mandatory.


Almost a quarter of the Spanish territory is included in the Natura 2000 Network. Conservation of its ecologic state has the guaranty of this protection mechanism. However, in the marine environment, the Natura 2000 Network is in a very early stage. The high cost and complexity to undertake an inventory in offshore and deep sea areas makes obtaining the scientific information about the habitats and species used to identify the areas to include in this Network difficult. In order to obtain this information and begin the conservation and management actions, it is necessary to make a big effort to identify the marine ecosystems. It is here where the project LIFE+ "Inventory and designation of marine Natura 2000 areas in the Spanish sea” was born.

The main objective of the LIFE+ INDEMARES project is to contribute to the protection and sustainable use of the biodiversity in the Spanish seas through the identification of valuable areas for the Natura 2000 Network.


The project actions will be carried out from January 1st, 2009 to December 31st, 2013. The budget is € 15.4 million, and the European Commission will co-finance 50% of the project.


Coordinated by Biodiversity Foundation, the project will have a participatory approach, and will include all of the relevant institutions in management, research and conservation in marine environments: Ministerio de Agricultura, Alimentación y Medio Ambiente, the Spanish Institute of Oceanography (IEO), the Spanish Council for Scientific Research, ALNITAK, the Coordinator for the Study of Marine Mammals, OCEANA, the Society for the Study of Cetaceans in the Canary Archipelago, SEO/BirdLife and WWF Spain.




©Manu San Felix/WWF España ©ALNITAK Gaviota picofina / Slender-billed gull (Larus genei) ©Jose Manuel Arcos/SEO BirdLife



Specific objectives for the activities


  1. To complete the identification of the marine Natura 2000 Network in Spain.

  2. To promote the participation of all the involved parties in marine research, conservation and sea management and its resources, including the sea users.

  3. To provide management and monitoring guidelines for each of the study areas.

  4. To raise awareness in the population about conservation and sustainable use of marine biodiversity.

  5. To contribute to the reinforcement of international sea agreements that are currently in force in Spain (OSPAR and Barcelona).



Other planned actions to be developed during the project


  1. To implement scientific studies, through oceanographic campaigns, in the 10 proposed areas for marine habitats and species (mainly cetaceans, reptiles and birds).

  2. Monitoring human activities and their tendencies.

  3. Evaluate the consequences of the CIS declaration and the impact of the SPAB proposals.

  4. Monitoring and evaluation of deliberate oil spills.

  5. Information, participation and awareness campaigns.



Arrecife coral del Banco de Galicia / Coral reef from Banco de Galicia ©Francisco Sanchéz/IEO Gorgonias blancas / White gorgonians (Eunicella singularis) ©Juan Cuetos/OCEANA Cachalote / Sperm whale (Physeter macrocephalus) ©SECAC




Fundación Biodiversidad Medio ambiente españa CSIC Instituto español de Oceanografia Alnitak Cemma Oceana Secac Seo Bird life WWF Socios