- Issue date: 03/06/2013
- Printing Process: Offset
- Paper: Estucado, engomado, fosforescente
- Size of stamp: 40,9 x 28,8 mm (horizontales)
- Size of block sheet: 105,6 x 79,2 mm (horizontal)
- Postal value of the stamps: 0,37 €
- Print run: 260.000
- Dented: 13 3/4
This souvenir sheet devoted to marine species in danger of extinction is comprised of four stamps featuring the Basque whale, the bluefin tuna, the Mediterranean monk seal and the sea lamprey.
The Basque whale lives in coastal shallow waters near bays and peninsulas. They are usually found in the western Atlantic waters and occasionally in the Eastern Atlantic sea. They are between 14 and 18 meters long and weigh between 36 and 72 tons. The head stands for a third of the total length of the whale and on it grow light coloured callosities that vary in size and thickness. They have a curved jaw and hairs hanging from their mouth through which passes the plankton they feed on. In the summer, they move on to the cold waters of the North Atlantic ocean and in winter the pregnant females migrate to subtropical waters to give birth. They are a protected species since 1935.
Bluefin tuna are native to both the western and eastern Atlantic Ocean, as well as the Mediterranean Sea. They may exceed 3 meters in length and over 400 kilos in weight. Throughout recorded history, the Atlantic Bluefin tuna has been highly prized as a food fish and its severe overfishing and bad practices have led to its near extinction. Since 2006 there is a recovery plan that aims to ban fishing in breeding season (May, June and July).
Mediterranean monk seals have an endemic widespread range throughout the Mediterranean Sea and are considered to be at great risk of extinction. In Spain in the early 20th century, they were pushed from the coastal plain onto rugged areas and the edge of the cliffs. Their colouration ranges from brownish to greyish, with the underside lighter than the dorsal-side. They measure between 80 centimetres and 2.40 meters, and weigh up to 320 kilos. They feed on fish, shellfish and octopus and reach reproductive maturity at four years of age having an estimated lifespan of 20 years or more. The pups are born in autumn and enter the water after two weeks of birth. They have been targeted and killed by fishermen for their oil, meat, and skin. A group is known to live in the Chafarinas islands.
The Sea lamprey is a serpentine fish with a cartilaginous skeleton and jawless mouth with the shape of a suction cup-like mouth to attach itself to the skin of a fish and rasp away tissue with its sharp, probing tongue and keratinized teeth. Secretions in the lamprey's mouth prevent the victim's blood from clotting. Victims typically die from excessive blood loss or infection.. It is an anadromous species, meaning that it lives in the sea and breed in rivers. It is born in the river where it remains in the larval stage for 5 or 6 years and migrates to the sea as an adult where it will live for another 3 years until it reaches sexual maturity when it will return to the river to spawn.