Galicia’s marine heritage
Ocean productivity Olympic Games. Why Galicia always step onto the winners' podium?
The Galician´s coast is affected by an oceanographic process that only take place in just a few privilege regions around the world. This particular phenomenon –so called “coastal upwelling” occurs in Galicia when the north winds blowing along the coast retreat coastal waters to the open ocean during spring and summer . This water mass is replaced with very cold and nutrient-rich oceanic deep waters which fuel phytoplankton growth, the basis of the marine food web and the lungs of the planet.
It can be said that it is the uniqueness of the marine plankton community in this region the reason that Galicia is being worldwide considered as one of the most productive marine ecosystems in the world, supporting abundant wildlife, from tiny crustaceans to migratory whales.
Atlantic Islands from Galicia Marine National Park help to protect ocean´s habitat
The Atlantic Islands of Galicia constitute, together with the Cabrera in the Mediterranean, one of the two National Maritime-Terrestrial Parks that currently exist in Spain. In this Atlantic protected area created in 2002 and composed of four arquipelagos (Cíes Islands, Ons, Sálvora and Cortegada), the ocean has a key role, with 86% of the protected area corresponding to the marine domain.
The bathymetry, the composition of the seafloor and the exposure to the energy of the ocean create different environments where multitude of fish, mammals and birds live. This mosaic of habitats affected by the particular oceanographic process called coastal upwelling is key to understand the biodiversity of this unique ocean region.
There is a huge effort from scientist, ocean conservation organizations and National Park workers to create a network that preserve the natural beauty, wildlife and functioning of this key ecosystem by limiting potentially harmful activities like unsustainable fishing, illegal harvest or massive tourism.
Galician ocean´s ecosystem is facing crucial challenges
Topics to be tackled for protecting our incredible marine ecosystem:
- Habitats degradation and species loss
- Invasive species
- Plastic pollution
- Climate change
- Possible damages due to marine recreational activities
Would you like to help us to raise awareness?