Forgive us for fishermen have sinned

LAST UPDATED: 18 Aug, 2008 @ 13:46
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Group seeks ‘divine intervention’ to save endangered marine grasslands

POPE Benedict XVI is being asked to pray for an endangered marine species.

A group of concerned Málaga residents has sent the Pontiff a letter imploring him to help in the fight to save some underwater meadows.

The grasslands, Zostera marina, are found off the coast of Torre del Mar and are the only marine pastures in the waters of Málaga.

The Platform for the Marine Grasslands of the Axarquia, a collective made up of marine biologists, zoologists and veterinary surgeons, claims illegal fishing with nets has decimated the area’s grassland.

Now, the group believes that unless drastic action is soon taken, the praderas – as the marine grass is known in Spanish – could soon disappear.

“Drag fishing has destroyed a lot of the marine wildlife in this area and the fishermen act with impunity. A lot of the damage that has already been done is irreparable. With the planned expansion of the Caleta port at Velez Málaga, the situation will worsen,” said José Elías Cabrera, the vice president of the group.

After moves to grant the grasslands greater protection from the regional government failed, the platform is now asking the Vatican to “pray and intercede so that this natural wonder does not disappear.”

“We have faith in your prayers and we beg penitence for all the damage Man has wrought upon Mother Nature. We also ask you to forgive all those who have consciously or unconsciously generated harm on our marine grasslands,” the letter to the Holy See reads.

The fishermen who regularly use the Caleta port deny they are responsible for the demise of the underwater meadows, which are home to species such as seahorses, starfish and cuttlefish.

Instead they blame trawlers that come from other areas.

The Pope is fast becoming a focus for environmental causes. Last month, 2,000 Italians called upon the pontiff to stop wearing cloaks of ermine fur.

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