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Underwater robots to guard the posidonia meadows

01.06.2020
Red Eléctrica and the Ministry for the Environment and Territory of the Balearic Islands Government will use 14 underwater robots to monitor the Posidonia oceanica meadows and the seabed required for their conservation during the summer campaign in the Balearic Islands.
 

The task force that is deployed every year during the summer tourist season in the Balearic Islands to monitor and preserve the Posidonia oceanica meadows will have an effective technical ally this summer: a team of special watchmen. The boats that patrol the coasts of the islands during the summer tourist season will be equipped with 14 underwater robots acquired by Red Eléctrica and made available to the heads of the Balearic Government's Department for the Environment and Territory campaign.

These unmanned units will be responsible for monitoring impacts on seagrass beds and helping to promote responsible anchoring practices. Their activity, however, will go beyond this, as they will also be used to perform cartographic work with a view to expanding the presence of these phanerogams on the Mediterranean seabed.

In addition, they will have another fundamental mission: to monitor the state of the submarine links, the security of the electricity supply and telecommunications.

These 14 ROV (remotely operated vehicle) submarine units are equipped with a 4K camera and are connected to the boat on the surface by means of a cable, through which they are remotely operated. These units transmit the data they collect, the photographic material and the information captured by their sensors through the connecting cable.

This collaboration, aimed at promoting good practices in anchoring linked to the preservation of Posidonia oceanica, began in 2017 with outreach activities. Since that year, around 35,000 leaflets have been distributed every summer, explaining in five languages the role of Posidonia in the conservation of coastal systems, the importance of boat owners adopting respectful habits when anchoring and the need to protect submarine links.
 
What is Posidonia oceanica useful for?
Collaborating actively to favour the preservation of the Posidonia oceanica meadows is part of the ongoing commitment of Red Eléctrica, expressed in other projects such as El Bosque Marino (The Marine Forest), an innovative initiative consisting of the replanting of two hectares of the species in a degraded meadow area in the Bay of Pollença, in Majorca.