Recently, the Spanish Minister of Agriculture and Fisheries, Food and Environment, Ms. Isabel García Tejerina, granted 12 permits for the extraction and sale of red coral (Corallium rubrum) at the Catalan coast. Seas At Risk member, the ENT Foundation, together with its partner organisations, urges the Spanish Minister to revise her decision and suspend the extraction of red coral along the whole Catalan coast.

The extraction permits were granted despite the critical conservation status of 90% of the red coral population in Catalonia. In 2015, red coral was classified as ‘Endangered’ by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature, and included in its Mediterranean Red List of Threatened Species. The latest scientific report commissioned by the Government of Catalonia recommends that a 20-year moratorium on red coral extraction be imposed immediately, with the possibility to extend this ban further.

In 2017, the Government of Catalonia suspended red coral extraction in the waters under its jurisdiction for the next 10 years. However, the Government of Spain has recently allowed extraction of red coral in those parts of the Catalan coast under federal authority, i.e. from Cap de Begur to Arenys de Mar. This decision will harm the recovery of the red coral populations.

An open letter calling for the extraction and sale permits to be revoked and the implementation of existing regulations protecting the red coral population has been sent to Minister Tejerina, signed by more than 80 NGOs, research centres and environmental organisations.

Habitat coraligen 2

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