The Ranger is a vital piece of Oceana’s campaign work in Europe. Custom-made in 1986 as a hospital ship, the Ranger was donated to Oceana by board member Steve McAllister. Since then, its crews have sailed from the Pacific to the Mediterranean doing invaluable research and documenting illegal fishing, habitats and marine species and evaluating the damages of the destructive fishing to the marine environment -all with the goal of achieving policy victories for the seas.
For 2018, Oceana Europe conducted two expeditions during the summer months. The first expedition was to the Aeolian Islands off the Sicilian coast, where Oceana marine scientists studied the marine organisms that live on the underwater volcanic slopes and seamounts found in the area.
Oceana Europe’s second expedition for 2018 was to the Quark (Kvarken), a narrow strait in the Gulf of Bothnia that separates Finland and Sweden, that’s home to a unique mix of marine, brackish, and freshwater species, partly due to remarkable geological processes that continue to shape the area’s landscape and seascape.
Since its first expedition in 2005 , Oceana has achieved multiple victories with the help of Ranger’s on-the-water presence.
In spring 2008 the Ranger sailed to the Atlantic coast of Spain and the Bay of Biscay, to gain knowledge about the Spanish seabed, document illegal bottom trawling and promote the creation of new marine protected areas .
In summer 2009 , the Ranger sailed to the Canary Islands. The objective of the campaign was to contribute information so that Spain will have 10% of its marine environment protected by 2012, as required by the United Nations Convention on Biological Diversity.
In 2010, Oceana studied the seabeds of the Western Mediterranean and participated in the European LIFE + Indemares project, providing information about the Seco de los Olivos seamount, in the Alboran Sea.
In 2011 the Ranger crossed the Mediterranean and the Atlantic waters to document the underwater canyons and mountains of Southwestern Europe.
The 2012 expedition kept on documenting the Mediterranean and Atlantic depths and studied, for the third and last year, the Chella Bank as part of the LIFE+ INDEMARES project.
2013 saw Oceana sail to the Baltic Sea to to gather biological data as well as information on fishing activities to support Oceana’s proposals on MPAs and fisheries management.
In 2014, Our team spent a month on the Ranger in the Canary Islands to document biodiversity, focusing on areas around the island of El Hierro.
In 2015, we were in Maltese waters to start the first leg of a two-year EU-funded project to survey areas in Malta in order to identify new Sites of Community Importance (SCIs) within the Natura 2000 network.
In 2016, Oceana Europe embarked on 4 expeditions – a record number of expeditions in a single year for Oceana!
- The first of 2016’s expeditions was in the Sound, a strait nestled between Denmark and Sweden, to study the area’s biodiversity and human activities that threaten it and to pave the way for transnational marine protected areas (MPAs) in the Baltic Sea.
- Next on the expedition map was in Malta to conclude the the second part of a two-year project to establish a coherent network of Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) in Malta by 2018.
- Then we moved up north to the North Sea to document habitats and species in the waters of the Netherlands, United Kingdom, Norway, and Denmark.
- And the fourth expedition took place in Lebanese waters and was Oceana’s first in the Eastern Mediterranean Sea. Here, our team of scientist will be exploring marine biodiversity in submarine canyons and deep-sea areas
In 2017, Oceana Europe returned to the North Sea to conduct a two-month expedition to document seafloor habitats and species in 16 areas of interest with an aim to strengthen the network of MPAs in the North Sea.