After months of preparations it feels great that the day is finally here: launching of our first coastal expedition exploring the near-coast ecosystems of the Baltic Sea and Kattegat and documenting coastal activities, like fisheries. Our team across Europe has worked hard on this to make it happen and I was so happy to see and greet the team of divers and experts lead by Xavier Pastor, Director of Oceana in Europe, late Thursday night in Malmö, Sweden when they arrived after thousands of kilometers of drive from Madrid.
So, on Saturday on World Ocean Day, we officially launched the expedition by helping a local NGO, Sea-U, to clean-up a former harbour area from scrap. Through-out the years a lot of rubbish, including bikes, furniture, plastics, glasses etc. have been disposed to the kanal from the pier and close-by boat that used to serve as a disco. Oceana team joined forces with local diving clubs in bringing the trash up.
The same day was also the launching of the “Race for the Baltic”; a multistakeholder initiative to rase awareness of the poor status of the sea and create political pressure to make our decision makers to act. This 3 month long bicycle campaign is initiated by the Zennstrom Philantrophies and organized by three Baltic NGOs, the Fish Secretariat, Coalition Clean Baltic and Oceana, in cooperation with local NGOs, municipalities and business patners. The campaign will collect signatures that will be handed over to Environmental Ministers in HELCOM meeting on October. You can sign petition in http://raceforthebaltic.com/petition.php