Mediterranean Initiative bulletin: Issue 6 / June-July

WWF Solar sets off from Palma de Mallorca.
© Jorge Sierra / WWF Spain

A catamaran powered by the sun

WWF Solar begins a journey completely free of fossil fuels.
WWF Spain launched the fifth edition of its campaign Embárcate (Get on board) in early July in Palma de Mallorca. WWF Solar will sail around the Balearic Islands stopping at the main coastal towns, working with local fishermen to promote sustainable fishing and to encourage their participation in the management of marine resources.
WWF Solar is fitted with photovoltaic panels that cover its 65m2 roof. When fully charged, the vessel's batteries can run its engines for 90 nautical miles. In 2007, it set a Guinness World Record by marking the first motorized crossing of the Atlantic Ocean using only renewable energy. Upon completion of this historic voyage the original developers of the boat, the Swiss association Transatlantic 21, donated it to WWF.

Women who dedicate their lives to the sea

Interviews with two inspirational women, at the helm of two Mediterranean Initiative offices – WWF Italy and WWF France.

 / ©: F.Bassemayousse / WWF France
Isabelle Autissier, WWF Cap Cetaces.
© F.Bassemayousse / WWF France
Donatella Bianchi
© WWF Italy

Journalist, author and television personality, Donatella Bianchi, is the newly-elected president of WWF Italy.

What particular strengths does WWF Italy bring to the Mediterranean Initiative?

In over 50 years of activity, WWF Italy has developed as an organization of and for the people: we have been able to attract and mobilize hundreds of thousands of Italians, to appeal to their love for Italy’s nature, and with their support protect many places of great beauty along the coasts.

We bring the same determination to the Mediterranean Initiative, to which I pledge my decades of experience in the media, to communicate and promote marine issues.

Knowledge is fundamental in the creation of a new collective conscience – and that is what we need in the Mediterranean. We need public support, to strengthen the efforts of environmentalists and protected areas staff and to forge a ‘new deal’ for this region’s unique biodiversity.

We want to create a community of all Mediterranean countries that takes on the management of their sea as a shared heritage. I consider it my personal mission to combat the concept of the Mediterranean as a theatre of indiscriminate economic gain.

This is our space – mare nostrum – and it is perfect as a symbol of the environmental culture so vital to this new millennium.

Read the full interview.

The Mediterranean requires a new geography of action, efficient and effective initiatives that go beyond each country’s national waters.

Donatella Bianchi

Observation is at the heart of sailors’ lives, and also of those of us passionate about nature.

Isabelle Autissier

A message of hope

Isabelle Autissier
French solo yachtswoman, Isabelle Autissier is the first woman to have sailed around the world in a competition. An agronomist, writer, radio broadcaster, she is the Chair of WWF France.

How can we apply the lessons of solidarity that you have learned as a sailor to our combined efforts for the protection of the Mediterranean?

Against the hazards and the dangers of the sea, people have developed forms of solidarity that preserve human life. This is a message of hope, which means that when we want to we can be collectively efficient.
It is indispensable that we extend these forms of solidarity to the entire web of life which sustains us by defining a true governance and an organization of human activities which do not impact negatively on the environment.

WWF is working for that.

Read the full interview.

Kaş-Kekova - it's official!

For the first time in Turkey an MPA management plan has been approved by the government. The Kaş-Kekova Special Environmental Protected Area now officially has a plan which sets the principles for the protection of ecological, cultural and socioeconomic values, and defines activites for the next 5 years. WWF-Turkey shares this success with diving club owners, fishermen and tour boat operators who participated and devoted their efforts for the future of Kaş-Kekova. 

 / ©: Michel Gunther / WWF
Coast near Kaş, Turkey.
© Michel Gunther / WWF

Explosive expedition in the Cyclades

During a recent field expedition to the islet of Gyaros, a WWF Greece team together with the army’s specialist bomb unit, found and safely detonated an unexploded shell. This set the stage safely for biodiversity surveys, part of the Cyclades Life project that aims to establish a model MPA on Gyaros.
 / ©: WWF Greece
WWF Cyclades Life team on Gyaros.
© WWF Greece

The Great Tuna Race

 / ©: C. Menard / WWF Mediterranean
Tuna tagging 2014.
© C. Menard / WWF Mediterranean
The WWF Mediterranean bluefin tuna tagging programme this year is working with the European Responsible Fishing Association as part of the Great Tuna Race. At the beginning of June the first tagging event took place in Spain, and was a great success. Tuna tagging gathers information on the ecology, residence areas and movement patterns of Atlantic bluefin tuna in the Mediterranean Sea.

Mediterranean:world's main tourist destination

How many? Over 300 million tourist arrivals a year.
By 2030? Expected to rise to 500 million.
Resource demands?
An average Spanish city dweller uses about 250 litres of water per day, while the average tourist uses 440 litres which doubles if the tourist uses facilities with swimming pools and golf courses.
Coastal areas, which account for more than 30% of international tourist destinations, are already seriously damaged.
Who benefits? Of the hundreds of millions of Euros generated by international tourism in the Mediterranean most goes to less than 10 tour operators from northern Europe.

Canary Islands: cetaceans at risk

 / ©: C. Gonzalez
Canary Islands.
© C. Gonzalez
The Spanish Ministry of the Environment has approved an oil exploration project in the Canary Islands, despite appeals from WWF and other organizations. The door is now open to the final approval of the project by the Ministry of Industry. WWF will continue fighting this harmful project in an amazing biodiversity area and the most important area for cetaceans in Europe.

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