Archive for the ‘Galicia’ Category

Climate change to affect shellfish in Galicia

Monday, February 11th, 2008

According to the Centro de Investigacións Mariñas of Galicia barnacle captures are likely to be favoured by alterations due to climate change, though clam and cockle farming will be hit.

Clams and cockles will be negatively affected by torrential rains as their principal beds lie at the mouth of rivers. Heavy rains will bring a large influx of fresh water harmful to shellfish. High water temperatures will lead to proliferation of pathogenic agents which attack clams and cockles.

On the plus side, the production of barnacles has increased in recent years coinciding with a fall in algal blooms, though the article does not explain why. More soon when I understand this.

El cambio climático favorecerá la captura del percebe en Galicia (El Pais)

More on barnacles from Iberianature

Breeding shags down 60% in Parque Nacional de las Islas Atlánticas due to Prestige

Thursday, November 22nd, 2007

The breeding population of shags (cormorán moñudoPhalacrocórax aristotelis) has fallen 60% in the Parque Nacional de las Islas Atlánticas as a result of the Prestige oil disaster. Numbers have dropped from 1500 pairs before the slick in 2002 to 350 (2003-2007) in the Cies Islands. Seabird populations in the United Kingdom have also been affected by the Prestige. The article notes the fall of guillemot numbers on the Isle of Skomer in Wales. (SEO) The shag is catalogued as Endangered in the Atlantic and Vulnerable in the Mediterranean according to the Libro Rojo de las Aves de España.

Five years today since the Prestige disaster

Tuesday, November 13th, 2007

Today, the 13th November, is five years since the Prestige disaster. El Pais reminds us that nobody has yet been tried for this.

prestige clean-up

Some key facts

  • The spill is the largest environmental disaster in Spain’s history.
  • 64,000 tons of fuel oil were spilled in the incident
  • The cost of the clean-up to the Galician coast alone is estimated at €2.5 billion
  • The World Wildlife Fund estimated that 300,000 seabirds died. A study published this month (Nov 2007) shows that hydrocarbons are still present in the seabird chicks (El Mundo)
  • Seafood industry was halted along much of Galicia’s coast
  • WWF warn of the possibility of other “Prestiges” today and notes three oil spills in Spain this year Sierra Nava (Algeciras), Don Pedro (Ibiza) and Samothraki (Gibraltar) WWF

See also “The largest environmental disaster in Spanish history began during a fierce storm off Galicia’s Coast of Death, la Costa da Morte, on 13th November 2002, as the Prestige oil tanker was sailing from Latvia to Gibraltar, to its ultimate destination of Singapore.” (Typically Spanish) + More on the Prestige oil spill (wikipedia)

Shipwreck in Galicia

Wednesday, August 29th, 2007

La Playa de los Ingleses lies on Galicia’s bleak Costa da Morte, and is one of the few remaining stretches yet to be blighted by the scourge of second homes.

The beach takes its name from the 172 English sailors who were drowned off the coast here on 10th November 1890, when their ship, the Serpent, sank in a terrible storm. The Serpent had sailed from Plymouth on Saturday 8 November bound for Sierra Leone. Although there are several versions of what happened, the final verdict was that the Serpent had been lost through an error in navigation. Three surviviors reached the nearby village of Camariñas and sounded the alarm. A search party was sent out and most of the bodies were recovered. They were buried on the beach close to the wreck spot and a small cemetery was built around them. It stands today as a rather sad and lonely mounment. Letters of thanks were sent by the British government to the villagers and the mayor was given a shotgun and the parish priest a gold watch. Unusually for the time the survivors wore lifebelts, and there are claims that the incident led to their widespread use in the British merchant navy.

Fox Legends

Monday, August 27th, 2007

I compiled these legends about foxes in Spain from the excellent Seres míticos y personajes fantásticos españoles by MANUEL MARTÍN SÁNCHEZ.  

  • Zorro de tres cabezas The three-headed fox. Resides in a megalithic monument near Tortosa, Catalonia and comes out on the night of San Juan to terrorise peasants.

  • Raposa de Morgaza. Lugo, Galicia. Nobody has ever seen this fox which emits chilling howls at night announcing misfortune or death. 
  • Raposa de Morrazo. Appears in front of travellers on lonely Galician county lanes with its spine curdling howl and breathing fire from its mouth. It is thought that the fox is really lost soul condemned to wander for his/her sins.
  • Loberono (Vulpus canis) Ferocious Galician mammal produced by the cross between a fox and a wolf. Sometimes appears as a fox and sometimes as a wolf with red fur and black spots. Often found in cemeteries digging up the dead on which it feeds. It is capable of paralysing a human (Homo sapiens) with its look and can see through walls. Shouting at a loberono is useless as it is deaf as a post. Fox mythology, Spanish cryptofauna

See also Foxes in Spain

Mermaids in Spain

Sunday, July 22nd, 2007

“They write from Galicia in Spain that some fishermen lately took on that coast a sort of monster, or merman, five feet and half long from it’s foot to its head, which was like that of a goat. It has a long beard and moustaches, and black skin somewhat hairy, a very long neck, short arms, and hand longer than they ought to be in proportion to the rest of the body: long fingers like those of a man, with nails like claws, very long toes, joined like the feet of a duck, and the heels furnished with fins resembling the winged feet with which painters represent Mercury. ”

From Scots Magazine 1739.

In Spanish a mermaid is a sirena. More Iberian knicknackery here

Bears in Galicia and honey

Wednesday, February 21st, 2007

02/12/2006 Galician bears and honey

Following on from news of possible return of bear to Galicia, here’s a photo of an alveriza (known as cortines in Asturias). These old constructions were built to protect beehives from bears. Note, the hives were positioned together to capture the maximum amount of sunlight. Photo from here. More on bears and bees. Christmas present idea. Fapas in Asturias will install your very own sponsered unprotected beehive so bears can gorge on it. 413 sponsered so far. 57 euros here.