With autumn officially here it’s time for another quarterly update from Save The Med!
Stellaris Action: The first baby sharks are born!
Sharks, despite their bad reputation are key to healthy and balanced ecosystems. Despite their importance for us all, they are in decline all over the world due to human activities and are in need of urgent protection.
In Balearic waters, the small nursehound shark used to be an abundant species. Now it is listed as endangered in the “Red Book of Fish of the Balearic Islands” and may not be fished in marine reserves.
The species conservation project “Stellaris Action” aims to protect this threatened species and help recover the populations through a breeding and release programme which is combined with educational components and run in collaboration with the Balearic government, the conservation organizations Mallorca Preservation Foundation, Fundación Palma Aquarium, Petites Illes de la Mediterrània, Marilles Foundation, Shark Med and Save The Med, with the support of the fishermen associations of the Balearic Islands.
The first fifteen sharks are now born and egg hatching continues under the supervision of technicians!
Marine Science Expeditions
In July, we were joined oboard our marine science expeditions by the students who presented the most impactful projects in the 2021 Changemakers Project, an educational initiative presented by Save The Med in collaboration with Fundación Jesús Serra. Students spent a week onboard the Rafael Verdera, exploring marine ecosystems and gathering scientific data together with STM scientists and educators. Sightings included dolphins, sea turtles, devil rays and sea birds.
Coastal expeditions with additional student teams took place on the solar powered boat Stenella and STM’s RIB Ondine and included visits to Marine Protected Areas, microplastic sampling using a manta trawl, snorkelling and species identification activities. In august expeditioners joined the Save the Med crew on-board the lovely Bonnie Lass for a week of marine surveys around the Tramuntana and Sant Elm area. Unfortunately, another expedition scheduled for September was cancelled due to bad weather.
Discover Your MPA Sa Dragonera
Education and awareness activities in the Marine Protected Area Sa Dragonera have continued throughout the summer and include underwater photography workshops, the PhotoCollab MARE - Dragonera and citizen science activities. To learn more about the area and coming activities, visit www.sadragonera.org.
Sergio Ruiz Halpern, marine biologist at Save The Med participated in the 2021 Mediterranean Posidonia network workshop: a gathering of scientists and administrators to find solutions and best practices for the protection of Posidonia meadows all across the Mediterranean. He also hosted a debate during the Forum Save Posidonia Project, focusing on the opportunities and threats of the Blue Economy.
The Dos Manos Schools Programme
More than 1400 students have already signed up to our Dos Manos Schools Programme and are eager to contribute to citizen science, learn about marine conservation and about how we can all help reduce plastic pollution. To learn more about our education programme and/or sign up, visit savethemed.org and/or contact email@example.com.
The Changemakers Project
Those wishing to take a step further and develop their own projects to protect the sea can also sign up to the Changemakers Project which launches today! This year we also invite Junior students, aged 8-14 to participate in the Junior version of the project. Visit www.changemakersatsea.com to find out more and become a changemaker!
Plastic Free Balearics
The Plastic Free Guardian Certification is now a reality and companies in the HORECA sector on the four islands of the Balearic archipelago have already begun to receive their Plastic Free Guardian Certificates. This new and pioneering certification has been created to incentivise the reduction of single-use plastics in businesses within the four islands’ hospitality industry.
The certification system offers alternatives to help businesses eliminate single-use plastics and substitute them for genuinly sustainable products. It proposes direct action, based on scientific evidence, in order to truly reduce plastic pollution in the region. For example, it encourages reusable products and doesn’t accept “bioplastics” as a sustainable alternative. The certification programme aims to support businesses as they transition to a zero waste, circular economy, helping them position themselves as leaders at the forefront of the protection and regeneration of our islands and the sea. To learn more about the certification programme and apply, visit www.plasticfreebalearics.org