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Areas Urbanism & territory, Tourism and Economic activities Agriculture, Livestock, Fishing & Hunting

Rollout of crop safeguards

The Formentera Council has authorised open hunting on the common pigeon (Columba palumbus) May 21 to 28, June 11 to 25, July 9 to 23, August 6 to 20 and September 3 to 17, from 7.30 to 11.30am and 5.30 to 9.00pm. The administration extends its apologies to any residents inconvenienced by rifle shots that might be heard during those times. The measure is necessary to safeguard crops affected by the species.

A follow-up review will document the efforts and explore their impact.

Irrigation reservoir operational by year end

Visita can marroigAt 10.00am this morning in Can Marroig, Jaume Ferrer and Bartomeu Escandell, the Formentera Council's president and councillor of rural affairs, were joined by the Govern balear's minister of environment, Vicenç Vidal, in presenting details about an upcoming series of classes before members of the press. Organised by the region's job-seekers' agency (SOIB) and led by the Balearic institute of nature (IBANAT), the course is geared toward teaching construction techniques for traditional drystone walls.

At 12 noon the officials regrouped in the CiF Office of Culture's conference hall to talk with Formentera residents employed in watering fields. Mr Vidal apprised attendees on ongoing revisions at the island's purified-water-fed irrigation reservoir and noted that, today, just one electrical issue requires resolution before crews can embark on the final test-run. According to projections, the reservoir will at least be provisionally operational by year's end.

For his part, Mr Escandell thanked the Palma Office of Environment for their willingness to move forward with implementation of the reservoir. He reminded those present of the installation's nearly €9m price tag and that, in the seven year's since its completion, the reservoir has yet to be used. The rural affairs councillor trumpeted the structure for its ability to “close the water cycle by repurposing purified water for use in local fields”.

The Govern has spent €294,000 on the current push to bring the facilities up to snuff. The news was warmly received by Formentera's community of irrigators. The reservoir, Mr Vidal pointed out, is equipped with 80 distribution points that feed purified water to 70 hectares of land. At the meeting's close, the officials visited Edar de Formentera's purified-water-fed irrigation systems.

Help for island's coalition of livestock farmers

Foto signatura conveni ramadersThe administration has formalised a partnership agreement with Formentera's group of livestock farmers to bolster measures like animal sanitation and production systems upgrades. The deal signed by Council chair Jaume Ferrer and Jaume Tur, head of Associació de Ramaders de Formentera, lays the groundwork for funding of up to €37,000.

Under the pact the association commits to steps such as yearly vaccines and parasite treatments to ensure proper animal hygiene and uphold directives of Formentera's Office of Agriculture, Livestock, Fish and Hunting.

In addition to support for production, animal sanitation and other issues of animal health and identification across the group's network of member farms, the Associació pledges to apply measures agreed on at yearly meetings to develop common policy.

The coalition promises to continue educating member farmers about the tasks expected of individual farmers. These include:

-Disinfecting and pest removal.
-External treatment of parasites across sheep, goat and pig holdings and internal treatments of farm dogs.
-Tracking medicines given to productive animals on a log of medical treatments.
-Respecting medical indications prescribed by the group's veterinary service.
-Keeping food chain data for a forthcoming guidebook governing Formentera's abattoir
-Ear-tag identification with farm code for every head of livestock marked for slaughter. Ear tags will be supplied by CiF Office of Agriculture, Livestock, Fish and Hunting.
-Providing data for the census of livestock farm animals between January 1 and the final day of February.

Formentera's fishing and marine reserves

Foto flota pesquera formenteraThe Formentera Council department of fishing has joined forces with GEN-GOB to host a presentation this Friday of the island's fishing and marine reserves. The event starts at 11.00am in the CiF's new plenary hall, located in the Formentera day care centre in the Vénda des Brolls area of Sant Francesc.

“We put together this event to better understand how management of our marine spaces and natural resources is changing,” said rural affairs councillor Bartomeu Escandell, “the goal being to become more in tune with European regulations and promote our own sustainability.” The councillor said talk would also turn on regenerating fishing resources to protect Formentera's local fleet of fishermen.

Following an introduction, the day will begin with a report by TRAGSATEC employee Pep Coll on Formentera's marine environment and eligibility for marine reserve status.

Two round-table discussions—at 12.30pm on marine reserves and protected undersea areas and 4.00pm on the trade's political considerations—will precede a 6.30pm expert-led discussion on scientific concerns. The day's closing ceremony will take place at 8.30pm. 

Cases of palms with red weevil infestation drop 23 per cent

foto presentacio balanc becut vermellBartomeu Escandell, the rural affairs councillor of the Formentera Council (CiF), together with Laura Pérez, operations manager of CiF Office of Agriculture, and Juan Argente, works technician at GRUPO TRAGSA, shared their assessment of the push to eradicate the red palm weevil from Formentera.

Escandell underscored a more than 23 per cent reduction in affected trees since 2015 and a one quarter drop in the total weevil population. The encouraging figures indicate that sustained efforts to wipe out the pest —the campaign is currently running a €46,000 tab, with €16k from the Govern and another €28k of the Council's money— is worthwhile.

That money has provided renewed steam to the measures that began in 2014 and helped cut costs (between €150 and €200 per tree) for private citizens treating palms affected by the pest. The response has turned on more stringent checks of imported trees, technical support for homeowners, practical training and professional consultancy, adjustments made to permit granting, preventive treatment on trees in public areas, tracking purchases from garden centres and an awareness raising campaign.

The response has also entailed field surveys, which have put the number of palm trees at 4,508 locally, as well as efforts to detect affected palms, monitor work of trained professionals and collect and dispose of associated waste not to mention maintaining traps to track population changes and carry out mass captures of adult weevils.

Traps and affected palms
In 2015, two-thousand twenty-one weevils were caught after traps were placed across the island as part of a four-month campaign. This year the efforts were extended across 12 months and ended in 1,721 insects being captured, or 22.5 per cent less than the previous year. As for the number of trees affected by the weevil, the 2015 figure of 159 stands against 122 affected this year — 23.7 per cent less.

The figures point to a turnaround in the trend of the pest's dispersal and a hampering of the exponential growth for which it is known. The island's weevil numbers have slumped at the same time that costs facing owners of infected palms have fallen as well. In addition, the representatives highlighted improvements made in waste management at Formentera's rubbish tip.

The officials recommended continuing current efforts, intensifying them in spots where the pest is less pervasive and cordoning off areas of priority control in an effort eliminate the pest from them in the short term. Aside from recommending the traps be maintained in zones where the weevils are most prevalent, the officials pointed to the possibility of testing other types of traps as well, some of them commercially-available.

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