I departed from Osprey reef for the last time some 12 years ago and have been living in Mallorca for the past 10 years building a bottom up, grassroots marine regeneration organisation called Save The Med Foundation. This organisation started as a part of my dive business to put something back into the environment that I was making money from but also an environment that I have so much affinity with; the sea.
But this is not the coral sea right! This is the Med; the most polluted, overfished, overused and abused body of water in the world. Why the hell would I put so much effort into an area that might never recover, an area that is said to be void of marine life and is full of pollution?
The magical Balearic Islands are the answer to that question. Well, not the islands themselves. But the mind blowing marine ecosystems that surround them, both coastal and offshore, are some of the most pristine locations in the Med. The Balearic Sea is home to various species of sharks, including Blue Sharks and a history of catches of some of the largest Great White Sharks on record. It is also home to elusive Giant Devil Rays, Common Stingrays, Groupers, Sperm Whales, marine turtles and much, much more.
I have seen a huge shift in the last few years, a shift towards more awareness and more importantly more action. The time for awareness alone passed over 20 years ago. Now is the time to act, before it really becomes too late! Plastic pollution is now a common household phrase and the word sustainability is being thrown around like a hacky sac at a music festival. And within business it’s rare these days to find a corporation without a CSR policy that includes environmental aspects. Although these policies are generally quite flimsy.
Even within yachting there are new environmentally focused NGOs popping up. Most are founded by people with long and successful careers in yachting which is fantastic. Yet there are subtle differences, we are not for profit, and some cut-throat business techniques should be left behind.
Collaboration is such an important word. It is also a hugely important action. Without open and honest collaboration we can never achieve the shared environmental objectives that we all want to reach. The only way to achieve them is through clear communication and collaboration.
Open and honest collaboration saves valuable resources. It opens doors, fills in gaps, streamlines, directs and expands everyone’s work and ultimately ensures that we are achieving our common goals as efficiently as is possible.
Save The Med Foundation are initiating the design of a Mediterranean strategy, where the yachting sector has the potential to become a formidable force in doing good for the sea. The yachting companies are in a unique position to assist the NGOs in their project and research work.
We would like to encourage one of the larger yachting businesses to organise and support a two day workshop inviting all yachting related NGOs working on marine related issues to gather and collaborate.
For more details and further information