Spain: Oceana Protests Over Sediment Dumping Plans

Oceana is protesting about Spanish plans to dump Mercury-rich sediment dredged from a Minorcan harbour into the open ocean.

The organisation has requested the Spanish Institute of Oceanography (IEO) report on management of the material extracted in the dredging of Mahón harbour.

This project involves the extraction of 200,000 m3 of sediment, with a mercury content of 2.28 mg/kg as well as other heavy metals which come mainly from the Minorca jewellery, naval, and textile industries. Oceana is firmly opposed to the dumping of this dredged sediment into the sea.

IEO carried out a study in 2003 which successive governments kept concealed until 2011, when the Spanish National High Court ruled that the information should be supplied to Oceana. This study disclosed that several species of high commercial value displayed alarming levels of mercury and other heavy metals.

We are not against the dredging of Mahón harbour, but given the worrying mercury pollution in the sea, an alternative must be sought to avoid dumping these polluted materials into the water,” says Xavier Pastor, Executive Director of Oceana in Europe.

A European Food Safety Authority study was recently published, stating that the mercury level that is regarded as dangerous in fish has been reduced from 1.6 micrograms per kilo of fish to 1.3. “This update, which increases precautions as regards consumption of mercury-polluted fish, proves once again that the effect of these toxic substances on people should not be underestimated,” says Oceana’s Minorcan researcher Marta Carreras.


Source: fishnewseu, January 16, 2013