The government of the Balearics has released a Smart Phone app to help captains determine if they are anchoring over protected seagrass prairies (Posidonia).
 
Anchoring in Posidonia weed areas, classified by the EU as a ‘priority habitat’, was brought to attention of authorities last summer when a government white paper recommended that large yachts anchor only in areas of a minimum depth of 35m. No stipulation to that effect was enforced, but care and attention to avoid coves and bays populated by the precious weed was urged.

No yachts have been issued with fines yet, either this year or last year, according to Oscar Siches of the Balearics Nautical Industry Association.
 
However yachtsmen are advised to watch out for patrol boats in the waters of Formentera, reported to be asking yachts for money to drop anchor in protected areas. Only yachts berthing in safe anchorage areas designated by buoys should expect to be charged.


Protected species: Posidonia weed

Environmental pressure groups are monitoring the situation. Ocean conservation group, Oceana, announced it has data on yachts which have illegally anchored. In a statement issued early this year, they warn they have: "constantly and immediately warned both the Guardia Civil maritime service and the Balearics Government by means of delivery of information sheets for every detected ship," which they deduct to be up to 28 possible illegal anchoring on Posidonia in the area, with particular offenders vessels over 40m.

“From our offices, we are being able to detect illegal anchoring in the Ses Salines protected area. We are aware of the limitations on public resources for surveillance, but the number of anchoring instances on Posidonia is shameful," the association claimed.

To access the interactive anchorage map, click here
For the anchorage 'app' and information on buoy areas, click here