It’s already November and time for a project 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 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 have been born in, and remaining egg cases are being monitored by marine biologists!
Marine Science Expeditions
During the summer months, we were joined onboard 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 adventurers of all ages 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 on a regular basis and include underwater photography workshops, the PhotoCollab MARE – Dragonera, citizen science activities and conferences. To learn more about the area and join coming activities, visit www.sadragonera.org.
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. We 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 1700 students have 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, leaving Save The Med’s education team with a fully booked calendar for this school year! To learn more about our education programme visit savethemed.org and/or contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
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 launched last month and continues until spring. 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!
Plastic Free Balearics
Companies in the hospitality sector on the four islands of the Balearic archipelago have already begun to receive their The Plastic Free Balearics Certifications! This new and pioneering certification has been created to incentivise the reduction of single-use plastics in businesses within hospitality industry. The certification system offers alternatives to help businesses eliminate single-use plastics and substitute them for genuinely 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 visit www.plasticfreebalearics.org.