Oceana Expedition Reveals Hidden Beauty and Threats to Marine Ecosystems of the Sound
Press Release Date: April 28, 2016
A press conference held by Oceana in Malmö this morning has unveiled early insights from a 3-week at-sea expedition to study the Sound’s marine ecosystems, funded by a generous grant from the Swedish Postcode Foundation. Stunning images and video footage have been captured from the seafloor, revealing not only the extent and diversity of marine life present, but also the long-lasting effects of threats such as sand dredging.
“The Sound expedition has revealed both the beauty and fragility of marine biodiversity right here on our doorstep,” explains Lasse Gustavsson, Executive Director of Oceana in Europe. “We have a duty to protect this unique environment for its sake, and for our own – it sustains valuable local fisheries, leisure and tourism on both sides of the strait. The information we have gathered shows just what is at stake, and what will be lost if protection is not strengthened.”
The study, carried out in partnership with Malmö-based SEA-U Marint Kunskapscenter, used a state-of-the-art remotely operated vehicle (ROV) and divers to survey and film the seafloor in high definition. The data gathered will be analysed over the coming months and will form the basis of a detailed proposal to protect the Sound within a large, transboundary MPA (marine protected area), which would be jointly managed by Denmark and Sweden. The main findings include observations of threatened and declining communities, such as horse mussel beds, seagrass meadows and sea pen communities, and documentation of large-scale physical damage to the seabed from current and past sand dredging operations.