After six months travelling across the Pacific and Atlantic oceans.
From its base in the Balearic Islands, Oceana will be setting up projects to protect the Mediterranean and other European seas.
The Ranger catamaran belonging to the international organisation for the defence of the seas, Oceana yesterday arrived in Majorca after six months sailing across the Pacific and Atlantic Oceans.
The expedition, headed by Majorcan oceanographer Xavier Pastor, left Los Angeles (California, USA) at the beginning of January and has travelled 11,000 miles, sailing through the waters of the United States, Mexico, Costa Rica, Panama, Honduras, the Bahamas, Bermuda, the Azores and Portugal. Around a hundred volunteers of various nationalities took part in the expedition, including biologists, underwater camera operators, photographers, and support divers in addition to the catamaran’s basic crew.
During the expedition, some 100 hours of film footage and 7,000 high quality photographs were taken which reflect the wealth of marine biodiversity in the different parts of the world and condemn the devastation being inflicted upon the oceans due to destructive fishing, marine pollution and climate change.
Oceana will be using these images and the scientific data it has gathered to document its projects for protecting the marine environment and to call for changes in the management of the oceans.
During the transoceanic expedition, the Oceana Ranger visited numerous national marine parks in different countries and has managed to film unprecedented footage of active underwater volcanoes near the Iberian Peninsula, such as the Joao de Castro. The Oceana divers also explored seamounts with extraordinary levels of biodiversity, which today are being threatened by the trawling fleets of various countries.
“Majorca, given its privileged position at the centre of the western Mediterranean, will from now on provide an exceptional base from which to operate”, says Xavier Pastor, Oceana’s Director in Europe. “Oceana is driving forward various projects from our European headquarters in Madrid. Having a vessel with the capacity to operate in all European waters will give us the practical element of first-hand observation of everything going on in the oceans”, Pastor adds.
Oceana is mainly working against destructive fishing techniques, pollution from the deliberate dumping of hydrocarbons by vessels cleaning out their tanks and bilges, and accidental catches of cetaceans, sea turtles and sharks by non-selective fishing gear, such as drift nets.