The speed with which the Mar Menor is losing its connection with the Mediterranean is accelerating year by year.
Using satellite imagery, a group of researchers has found that the main natural channel connecting both seas is now 80% closed. In addition, by means of a marine drone, they have measured the bottom of the channel that is still open. The average depth barely reaches 25 centimetres.
If this stretch that allows water to enter from the Mediterranean sea closes, the change in temperature, salinity, chlorophyll levels and water clarity could compromise the future of the lagoon.
According to Ángel Pérez-Ruzafa, a Professor of Ecology at the University of Murcia, “The ability of the Mar Menor to defend itself against human aggression completely depends on its connectivity with the adjacent sea, and if the connection is reduced too much, it will lose its productivity and biological structure. If the communication is too strong, then these are also lost,” he said.
However, he believes that it can still be saved from becoming a dead sea. “If nutrient intakes are cut and indiscriminate dumping is not carried out, it will recover, as this spring and early summer has showed us. But if urgent structural measures are not taken in the lagoon, we will lose it irrevocably.”