Gathering around 100 boats in the protected Mar Menor may have violated environmental regulations

Spain’s environment ministry and wildlife police are investigating whether a “mega party” and dozens of boat concerts held this month in one of Europe’s largest and most endangered saltwater lakes broke environmental laws.

Photos of around 100 boats have emerged at Isla del Ciervo in Mar Menor, south-east of Murcia.

The Mar Menor, a protected area separated from the Mediterranean Sea by a 13-mile (22 km) sandbar, has been polluted by poor sewage systems, runoff from fertilizers and mining. Its waters turned green six years ago when algal blooms killed 85% of the seafloor vegetation.

The Environment Ministry said it would consider the party held on the weekend of August 20 and 21. It states: “Penalties may be imposed if it is determined that laws have been violated, such as environmental protection of protected areas, marine safety and recreational activities – if the incident occurred without the necessary permits and controls. ”

It said the regional government of Murcia was responsible for the protection of the Mar Menor and its flora and fauna, and that such a large party should have run behind the relevant coastal and marine authorities. “The regional government’s lack of primary control over recreational activities in the Mar Menor contributes to excesses that are altering the delicate balance of this protected area,” it said.

The ministry also said that prosecutors have asked the Wildlife Department of the Guardia Civil to open an investigation into the matter.

The Murcia branch of the environmental group Ecologists in Action said it had filed complaints against the regional government and the tour company Flippa Boat which it claimed had organized “big boat meetings and night-time concerts”.


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