Action A3. Study of the areas where anchoring takes place.
Partner: Direcció general de Qualitat Ambiental i Litoral.

To gather and compile all the necessary information in order to carry out action C.1 :
Installation of Anchoring Points, and to effectively protect the habitat from the damage caused by yacht anchors.

The action comprised three phases:

• Phase I. Study of the areas where yachts anchor in SCI areas.
In each area and sector integrated in the marked zones, the required parameters were established in order to define which seascapes were most affected by yacht anchoring at each location. The following data were gathered and compiled: number of yachts per square metre, length of the yachts, most common yacht types, type of stay (day-time, full), degree to which Posidonia fields had been damaged, and distance to nearest ports, among others, in order to evaluate which areas suffer the most from yachts anchored in the coves and bays of each SCI area.
Further studies were also carried out on other factors and these contributed, to a lesser extent, in increasing knowledge about visitors (schedules, lengths of stay, etc.), The parameters studied were obtained through diverse techniques such as photos taken from the air in 2000 and 2004 to quantify the number of boats anchored in each SCI area, observation of the frequency , the schedule, and the moments of maximum presence of yachts, etc.).

• Phase II. Study of the sea floor (stratum graph of sea floor) and of marine climate.
Afterwards, and once having pre-selected the sectors most affected by large numbers of yachts anchoring over Posidonia oceanica fields, a study of each of the sectors was undertaken in order to gather and compile data on marine climate and on the stratum of the sea floor. The following areas were studied:

SCI area: Badies de Pollença i Alcudia – Punta de l´Avançada
SCI area: Costa de Llevant – Porto Petro
SCI area: Isla Dragonera –Es Pantaleu-Cala Conills
SCI area: Cap Enderrocat-Cap Blanc –Cala Blava
SCI area: Ses Salines d´Eivissa i Formentera – Caló de s´Oli
SCI area: Ses Salines d´Eivissa i Formentera – Bahía de s ´Alga
SCI area: Ses Salines d´Eivissa i Formentera – Playa Ses Salines
SCI area: Marina Nord de Menorca – Bahía de Fornells
SCI area: S´Albufera des Grau – Illa den Colom-Cala Tamarell

The studies carried out on marine climate and on sea floor stratum provided the parameters to be taken into consideration for calculating the highest stress the strongest, the effort boats are subjected to when anchoring in these areas and their pre-dimensioning , and relating this to the resistance characteristics of the sea floor at each site.
Besides this, maps were drawn up of all existing SCI areas, defining the characteristics of the benthic community living in said sectors. Once all parameters were obtained it was possible to proceed to the last phase in which it was decided which anchoring areas were most suitable, and therefore defined, in order to protect the fields of Posidonia oceanica.

• Phase III. Defining anchoring areas.
Thanks to the studies and research carried out, it was possible to select among coves and bays situated within SCI areas, those most affected by anchor garraring and the consequences of this activity over the Posidonia fields. The following data were compared and analysed:

- Presence of Posidonia fields and degree of conservation of the same.
- Number and density of yachts anchoring.
- Proximity to ports.
- Frequency of visitors.
- How easily established anchoring areas can be managed.
- Types of vessels.
- Study of the wave rhythms, sea currents and winds of the area.

Once the sectors had been definitely selected, the areas in which anchoring is to be allowed were defined and projected on 9 sectors situated in a total of 7 SCI areas round the islands.

SCI area :Bays of Pollença and Alcudia – Punta de l´Avançada
SCI area: East Coast – Porto Petro
SCI area: Dragonera Island- Es Pantaleu- Cala Conills
SCI area: Cap Enderrocat- Cap Blanc- Cala Blava
SCI area: Ses Salines of Ibiza and Formentera- Caló de s’Oli
SCI area: Ses Salines of Ibiza and Formentera -Bay of S’Alga
SCI area: Ses Salines of Ibiza and Formentera- Ses Salines Beach
SCI area: Marina of the North of Minorca- Fornells Bay
SCI area: S’Albufera des Grau- Colom-Cala Tamarells Island

For each of the areas a project for the installation of anchoring points was drawn up and accompanied by its corresponding budgets, stipulations, conditions, maps, drafts, and memoir. Included in these, the following were established : four categories of vessel length that may be anchored at the different coloured buoys at each of the previewed allowed areas. (Boat lengths of 8 metres, between 8 and 15 m., between 15 and 25 m., and between 25 and 35 m.)
Anchoring points were installed after obtaining the required administrative permits from the Demarcación de Costas de Illes Balears and the Capitanía Marítima en Baleares (Coastline and Maritime Control Board of the Balearics).
The aim of this action has been fulfilled as the anchoring points have been appropriately installed on the basis of the collected, compiled and studied data.