The Hormigas Islands, the greatest treasure of Cabo de Palos, are a rectangular-shaped Mediterranean reserve of 1,931 ha. The integral reserve is located around the islets of Las Hormigas, reaching depths of more than 50m.
The rocky and sandy bottoms alternate and the meadows of oceanic Posidonia. It is a transit area for pelagic species such as yellowtails that come to the area in the summer months.
It was created by the General Secretariat for Fisheries and the Murcia region based on studies by the Autonomous Community and the Spanish Institute of Oceanography. In which its location and extension were determined, as well as the respective management measures.
The characteristics of temperature and salinity of the waters of the reserve and its surroundings are similar to those of the continental platform between Cabo de La Nao and Cabo de Gata, suffering influences from the seasons and from the Atlantic waters coming from the Strait. In summer, the average temperature (25º) and the average salinity (36.9%) of the first 20 m are the highest on the coast of the Peninsula in open water.
The Cabo de Palos area is considered a biogeographical border of the Mediterranean, which together with Cabo de Gata, segregates the Alboran Sea, with a greater Atlantic influence, from the rest of the Mediterranean.
The seabeds of the marine reserve constitute a sample of the well-preserved Mediterranean coastline, with Posidonia oceanica meadows in good condition. This high biodiversity is due to the great variety of environments that exist.
The operating regulations were drawn up in 1997, in which informative billboards were installed in ports, published posters, leaflets and informative DVDs. Indicated activities are allowed: professional sea fishing, recreational sea fishing, underwater activities and scientific activities. All of them under certain conditions of access.
The rise of diving has an increasingly important role in the diffusion of this area of the Mediterranean. Also in raising awareness of the sea and the conservation problems that affect it.
Scientific research is notable in the waters of Cabo de Palos given its ecological importance. The Murcia Oceanographic Center and the Department of Ecology and Hydrology of the University of Murcia, in collaboration with other Spanish and European research entities, develop different research projects on the communities of the area.
Finally, we have been able to see how in 2020 the marine reserve increased by 10% on the occasion of its 25th anniversary, going on to have 190 more hectares of protected space.
The Ant Islands, the greatest treasure of Cabo de Palos that we must take care of and preserve in the Region of Murcia in order to continue enjoying it.
Cover image retrieved from: https://www.laopiniondemurcia.es/