Following up from last months article letting you all know about the ways local businesses and individuals can assist with Asociacion Ondine´s marine research & conservation projects, I thought some details about our future projects would be appropriate for you all to understand why we require your help.
Before I get into the project description I would like to let you all know that we have two new businesses involved since our last article. As well as some new individual members who you can see on our website.
Our latest gold member is Complete Marine Freight and our latest silver member is El Crew Co. Both local nautical businesses that have jumped on board to not only financially support Asociacion Ondine but also to actively promote and assist in the growth of our organization. Thank you very much to Tom Sell, Erica Lay and your teams.
So, what have we been up to in regards to moving forward with Asociacion Ondine?
Our goal is to create a community of people and businesses that all share the same vision in relation to understanding, protecting and improving our local sea. Understanding marine environments is really the key to successfully creating marine conservation actions and the Mediterranean is very much under-studied.
Hence we have developed a concept where you, boat users, can assist in the collection of information that is so crucial to the protection and improvement of these fragile environments.
Two smart phone apps and websites – one based on Marine debris and the other based on Marine life.
Our marine life application will allow you to not only identify species of whales, sharks, rays, birds and other marine species that you may come across in your travels but also allows you to upload photos or videos of these species with very important information attached, such as GPS coordinates, weather conditions , date and time as well as extra notes on anything you think would be relevant to understanding these species.
Asociacion Ondine will collect all this information for our own use in future projects but also share this information with other scientific institutions around the Mediterranean that already have studies on particular species underway. Hence building and creating a clearer picture of what is happening in the med and increasing the size of our community of science and conservation groups that we collaborate with.
Our Marine debris application is a similar concept but based on the dirty subject of rubbish, learning about hot spots of garbage in the Med, particularly in the Balearic Sea as well as trying to find out the sources of these rubbish piles. Cleaning a beach is a bandaid solution, finding the source of the rubbish and stopping it there is the real solution for this problem, it is the million dollar question and an international problem that is still yet to be solved.
Of course we will get involved in the clean ups but our long term goal is to find the root of the problem and deal with it there.
One of the possibilities to finance these applications and websites is through corporate sponsorship, which would give a huge amount of exposure to the company that commits to assist. Great marketing for a marine based company really.
The Balearic Islands have 7 marine reserves, which we will be promoting through our Marine Reserve Public Awareness campaign.
This campaign is definitely long term as we also aim to be an intermediate body between local and visiting yachts and the local government, assisting in the translations of existing material into English and various other languages so as yachts can access current information regarding marine reserves as well as Posidonia in a format and language they understand.
Our campaign will include new websites, involving local businesses who are in close proximity to marine reserves to assist in public awareness, public presentations as well as increasing the signage around the Balearics to make it easier for people to find the information they need.
My personal goal is to one day assist in the creation of one all encompassing marine reserve around the entire Balearic Islands that is designed to work with industries such as the fishing industry, yachting industry, tourist industry and coastal based businesses. One in which creates opportunity for growth and generation of income through a sustainable plan and an intelligent execution of this plan. There are so many benefits to protecting what we have here in the Balearics and yes of course it means making money. Without the generation of income no industry, or business would be successful, that’s pretty obvious.
Anyway, back to now!
We have the Mallorca Stingray Survey Phase Two in preparation; this is to increase our knowledge on what we have learnt from the hugely successful Mallorca Stingray Survey. We will be tagging the common stingray as well as conducting a more intensive study during the months with high aggregation numbers. We aim to gain a clearer understanding of the movement patterns & reproduction behaviors of this species, from this we can then increase our conservation efforts we will have begun from the data collected in the first phase of this project.
Satellite tagging of Basking Sharks and Roughtail Stingrays. This would be a pioneering project, as sharks have never been satellite tagged in the Mediterranean. Hence it would receive a great deal of media attention from around the world as well as locally, making this project quite beneficial to corporate sponsors.
It is common knowledge within the local scientific community that we have visiting Basking Sharks here in Balearic Waters in the early month of winter, where they come from and where they go is unknown. We would like to assist with the understanding of migration patterns of this huge and mysterious fish. Do the Basking sharks migrate from UK waters?, do we have permanent Mediterranean populations? What is the importance of the Balearic Islands in regards to their appearance here in winter? There are so many questions to be answered. We aim to work with other scientific groups in Europe that have existing Basking Shark Tagging projects already underway.
The common Stingrays larger cousin is the Roughtail stingray, growing to a massive 2.5m in width I must say these are awesome creatures to come face to face with, I was lucky enough to see two on a night dive a few years ago here in the Bay of Palma.
Again, like the basking shark, not a great deal is known about these large majestic creatures and by embarking on a satellite tagging program we aim to understand migrations of these rays. Again, we cannot make conservation actions until we have more information, hence the importance of research is obvious.
So that’s a small taste of whats in store for Asociacion Ondine and our members, we are still conducting stingray survey days and will be until next March. If you are on facebook and want to keep up with our daily and weekly progress then please like us and follow our page.
All these projects require funding and materials so once again we reach out to local businesses 6 yachts that have the ability to assist financially as well as local yachts that can assist with our wish list. Asociacion Ondine is for all of us here in the Balearics and it will take all of us to make the changes that are so desperately required to understand, protect and improve our local sea!