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I was invited to take part in a research expedition in the Baltic Sea arranged by Örebro University and Pangaea Exploration, which I gratefully said yes to. The expedition has been running since the beginning of August, but I joined them on Saturday. So now I find myself miles from the nearest coast, on board the “Sea Dragon”, a Global Challenge Vessel, and part of a small but enthusiastic crew. The goal of this expedition is to study marine litter, a growing problem for the world’s oceans.

Not much has changed since the release of the famous “Jaws” by Steven Spielberg. Sharks have always scared us due to their ferocious appearance and the scope of recorded world attacks on humans; a bad reputation that has been spread by the media. But should we be afraid of them, or afraid for them? Using the slogan “scared for sharks”, actress January Jones collaborated with Oceana in 2009, as a spokesperson to raise awareness of shark conservation.

Earlier this month, Oceana and Corriere della Sera embarked on a behind-the-scenes mission to uncover illegal fishing in the Port of Bagnara in southwest Italy. During an overnight mission, the team documented illegally caught swordfish from drift gillnets entering the Port. This isn’t the first undercover mission from Oceana---earlier this summer we uncovered drift gillnets in Morocco. Read below to learn more.

This piece was first published in the Finnish newspaper Ålandstidningen 11/7, it has been translated for this blog.

Imagine this view on a sunny day: blue skies, the sun shining and glimmering on the surface of the sea. But zoom in a bit closer, and you’ll see an entirely different picture: murky waters, and algae blooms suffocating kelp forests, and small fish in shallow waters gasping for air. This is the current reality we are facing: wide-spread human activities have led to the decline of the Baltic Sea and other oceans globally.