viernes, 2 de abril de 2010

A new proposal from the regional government is causing uproar in political, academic and environmental protection group circles.

Vía: Island Connection
The Canarian Government claims that their new Catalogue of Protected Species will not reduce the protection for Islands’ fauna and flora, but there are many who are raising their voices in protest. According to socialist members of the Canarian Government, the changes proposed attack the biodiversity of the Islands and jeopardise the future of the Canaries to defend prívate interests. They indicate that the new legislation only protects species which are inside currently delineated protected areas and not the species overall. However the conservative and nationalist groups which form the Canarian Government claim that the new catalogue increases the protection of endemic species which are not protected by central Government measures.

Environmental group Ben Magec – Ecologists in Action has called for a mass action against the new proposals. “The Canarian archipelago is home to a great diversity of species, many of which only exist on these islands and are in danger of extinction. More than half of the endemic flora and close to 40 per cent of the invertebrate terrestrial fauna that exists in Spain can only be found in the Canaries. On the other hand this is the richest archipelago in endemic species of all Macaronesia, and one of the most important in the world in terms of botanic diversity.

“Thanks to the efforts of experts and scientists, in 2001 a catalogue with 450 species was published, many of them plants and animals as noteworthy as the Blue Chaffinch, the Giant Lizards of El Hierro, La Gomera and Tenerife, the Dragon Tree, the Egyptian Vulture, the Blue Mount Teide Bugloss, the Barbar y Falcon, the Loggerhead Sea Turtle, the Lesser Neptune Seagrass (which forms marine prairies in sandy areas), the Bolle’s and White-tailed Laurel Pigeons, the Purgeonfish and many others. The utility of this catalogue consistsin the obligation to carry out specific actions for the conservation of all this biodiversity which is unique in the world.”

On October 22, 2009, the parliamentary group of the Canarian Coalition (CC) put forward in the Canarian Parliament a bill of law aimed at creating a new Canarian Catalogue of Protected Species, based on the ‘excessive degree of protection’ in the 2001 Catalogue. According to the environmental group, whilst 10 species will have more protection, 226 species that were protected in 2001 will be eliminated from the new catalogue or see their protection diminished. Ridiculously 94 species will only be protected if they remain within a natural protected area, but if they tread, grow, swim or fly outside these sites, they cease to be protected and it is proposed that 60 species more will see their protection disappear in the future.

Their protection will also be removed if these supposedly protected sites happen to be affected by a project of infrastructure considered to be of, “general interest to the public”. Ben Magec believe that the new catalogue proposed by Coalición Canaria and their allies is based on getting rid of legitimate obstacles that may affect the construction of great infrastructures such the harbour of Granadilla, the harbour of Guía de Isora, marinas, the motorway ring road, golf courses, etc., at the expense of the Canarian threatened species. It would seem that the Canarian Government intend to approve this Bill of Law without the participation of the citizenship, and without even considering the opinión of the scientific community, whose members supposedly are those who really know the actual status of the threatened species.

Various changes proposed by the socialist party have been rejected. To force a public debate, Ben Magec has organised various demonstrations and a cyber action involving a prepared email available at to the European Union’s Environment Minister.