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jellyfishYesterday, we attended Invasion of the Jellyfish, an interesting meeting hosted by the European Parliament’s Seas and Coastal Areas Intergroup. It sounds like the name of a low-budget 80s horror movie, but it’s unfortunately the growing reality in coastal waters around the world.

Well we can’t say we are too surprised, but it’s still incredibly frustrating that OSPAR member states choose to continue endangering the health and future of an ecosystem on which millions of Europeans depend.

Good news first – European countries agreed to create six new marine protected areas. This is an historic decision because they are the first MPAs created beyond national jurisdiction (in the high seas).

Bad news? Where do we begin?

Six is simply not enough – not enough high seas protection, and not enough surface area coverage.

It has been a busy few days for us at OSPAR. So far the meetings we’ve assisted have been incredibly interesting, but the entire process is exhausting and rather intense: we’ve been getting back to our hotel at around 23h and waking up very early in the morning to prepare for meetings. The delegates look more exhausted than we do - no doubt because their negotiations have been going on into the wee hours of the morning.

Today marks the beginning of the OSPAR Commission meeting in Bergen, Norway.

In case you are wondering what this actually is, we thought we’d give you a bit of background on the Commission and what it is that they do.

OSPAR is the result of the 1992 unification of two international Conventions related to the protection of marine environment: the Oslo convention adopted in 1972 which regulates dumping waste at sea and the Paris Convention, adopted two years later and focusing on land based sources of pollution.

If you’ve been keeping up with the ship's log, you'll notice that these past two weeks have been as equally intense as the others. The departure of Oceana workers from Alaska and Washington and their hydrocarbon sensors was immediately compensated by the arrival of a new group of Spanish divers and the underwater robot (ROV) to Gulfport, Mississippi. Then we begin a new phase of the expedition: the visual exploration of the seabeds in the areas whose surface waters had been covered by oil for weeks.