Mar Menor Lagoon Granted Personhood Status

Tara C. Trapani

On September 21, Spain made history by granting personhood status to the ecologically troubled Mar Menor Lagoon, the largest saltwater lagoon in Europe. The lagoon, home to many marine species, including the endangered European eel, has been in crisis for years, seeing massive fish die-offs and algae blooms. This is thought to be due to fertilizer runoff from nearby farms and heavy metal runoff from old mining operations. See this New York Times article for more history of the environmental issues at Mar Menor and see this video from the France24 news service:


This groundbreaking ecological triumph was achieved by a stunning community effort. 640,000 citizens signed petitions and rallied around the effort, organized by a local group called Pacto por el Mar Menor. Read more at the Associated Press about the granting of personhood status, and see this video from the Al Jazeera news service:


This phenomenal success of a community effort, initiated by University of Murcia professor and activist, Teresa Vicente, can serve as a great source of hope and inspiration for all of us who become concerned at times that our efforts are futile. This community rallied around their natural treasure and have made a huge difference that could now save species and stem the tides of environmental degradation there. We can make a difference.