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The zone A, between Cala Barril and Pla de Mar, is a fully protected area, where any form of activity or the anchoring of boats is prohibited.
The zone B, which includes the south eastern part of the Bay of Fornells up to Ses Salines, minor arts professional fishing is only permitted in the winter. .
In the rest of the reserve, which makes up Zone C, professional fishing and diving is permitted with the authorization of the fishing regulatory body, and recreational fishing is subject to the current general regulations.
The Northern Menorca Marine Reserve was created in June 1999 as part of the fishing management policy of the Council of Agriculture and Fishing of the Balearic Islands. It is situated on the northern coast of the island.
The reserve is characterized by its high level of conservation and attractiveness. This extends to the submarine areas, which exceed 30 metres in depth, even near the coastline, and house a wide variety of habitats.
Features of particular ecological interest include the Sa Nitja posidonia barrier reef, the surface communities of cystoseira seaweed, the wide variety of infralitorral photophilic communities, the extensive rocky areas, as well as the wide variety of submarine species that are of conservational interest. The latter include species like the red coral (Corallium rubrum), molluscs (Litophaga litophaga and Pinna nobilis), and crustaceans (Palinurus Elephas and Scyllarides latus).
The large Bay of Fornells, whose seabed is predominantly sandy, also has some distinct ecological characteristics, such as communities formed of submarine spermatophytes (Cymodocea nodosa and Zostera nolti), as well as of species of seaweed, such as Caulerpa prolifera, Flabellia petiolata and Halimeda tuna. The Marine Reserve is home to species of fish that are typical of the Mediterranean coast. One of the most noteworthy is the Palinurus elephas lobster that can be found in waters of a certain depth (between 25 and 150 metres).
By observing the configuration of the coast and a bathymetric map of the reserve it can be seen that the diversity of habitats and submarine communities will increase. The presence of small bays, coves, cliffs and a large area marked by an isobar of 45 metres mean that the reserve has a high ratio of diversity of habitats and protected areas. To date 628 submarine species have been counted, the majority of which are seaweed, fish and molluscs, and there are up to 35 different biological communities.
The reserve has an area of 5,119 sea hectares, which extend from the Bay of Fornells, in the east, to Cape Gros, in the west.