Columbretes islands are a small archipelago of volcanic origin located 30 nautic miles off the coast of Castellón. The SPAMI includes both the islands and the surrounding sea.
Columbretes islands are of volcanic origin, with eruptions dated 3.0-0.5 million years ago. They rise over the continental platform from the sea bottom c. 90 m depth in form of submerged reefs and emerged islands in 4 groups: L’Illa Grossa, La Foradada, La Ferrera & El Carallot. The submerged reefs cover c. 5ha, with platforms, pithons and underwater caves.
The surrounding sea is dominated by submerged reefs (also of volcanic origin) that rise over a 90 m depth platform, covered by detritic bottoms and maërl. The diversity of depths and substrates, the distance from the coast and more than 10 years of continuous protection, allows the existence of a great variety of communities with an excellent degree of conservation. It holds rare plants (Laminaria rodriguezi) and animals increasingly rare in the valencian coast due to overfishing (Palinurus elephas, Epinephelus marginatus, Corallium rubrum) or habitat alteration (Cystoseira, Pinna nobilis). Cetaceans are common, either as residents (Tursiops truncatus) or migrants (Balaenoptera physalus). Sea turtles (Caretta caretta) are frequent in the summer months.
Main threats are outside the Marine Reserve, with high concentration of fishing boats (trawlers, gill-nets, long-lines), taking advance of the biomass exported by the Reserve. The increasing demand for recreational activities in the marine reserve, forces quota raising and regulation relaxation. Increase in public use over the estimated carrying capacity may affect habitats and species.
Columbretes islands are characterised by its small surface (19 ha emerged land) and iisolation, located 30 nautic miles from the nearest coast. Due to these circumstances, holds both endemic species (more than 12 invertebrates, 1 endemic lizard,2 endemic plants) and breeding colonies of rare marine birds (Calonectris diomedea, Falco eleonorae, Larus audouinii, Phalacrocorax aristotelis, Hydrobates pelagicus). All terrestrial mammals were extirpated.
General Directorate for Sustainability of the Coast and the Sea, Ministry of Ecological Transition (email@example.com )
The management plan was formulated by the Regional Environmental Authority, passed through a process of consultation with institutions and stakeholders and approved by the Regional Government.