After more than 4 years sailing accross the planet and the Arctic, the schooner Tara left Lorient, her home port, for a seven-month expedition in the Mediterranean. The crew will conduct studies about plastic, and raise awareness about the many environmental issues related to the Mediterranean.
450 million people live along the Mediterranean coasts in 22 bordering countries. Due to its geography and climate, the Mediterranean Sea hosts nearly10% of global marine biodiversity, although representing only 0.8% of the ocean’s surface. Today’s cities are saturated and almost a quarter of the world’s maritime traffic is concentrated in the Mediterranean. Problems related to pollution from land are increasing, putting pressure on the marine ecosystem essential for the people of the region, and for life in general. Among the pollutants is the growing presence of micro-plastics. These are most likely incorporated into the food chain, and thus into our diets. It is therefore urgent to find concrete solutions such as water treatment, waste management, biodegradable plastics, promotion of sustainable tourism, and the creation of Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) — solutions proposed decades ago by the Barcelona Convention, the U.N. Convention on Biological Diversity, and also by the European Union.
The Tara Mediterranean mission includes several components, including:
1. A scientific study concerning plastic found in the sea will be carried out, coordinated by the Laboratory of Oceanography of Villefranche-sur-Mer (Pierre et Marie Curie University and CNRS) in France and the University of Michigan in the United States, in collaboration with the University of South Brittany and other universities in France.
2. An educational component to promote the efforts of local and regional associations on the many environmental issues concerning this almost-closed sea:
– Promotion of Marine Protected Areas in collaboration with the MedPAN network of Marine Protected Areas in the Mediterranean
– Promotion of solutions for waste reduction
– Sharing of the first analyses of data obtained in the Mediterranean during the Tara Oceans Expedition (2009-2012)
Duration: 7 months = 115 days at sea, and 115 days in ports of call
Number of stops: 22
Number of countries visited: 11
Distance to be covered: 16,000 km
The team on board consists of 5 sailors, 2 scientists, 1 journalist and 1 artist
agnès b., Prince Albert II of Monaco Foundation, Veolia Environnement Foundation, IDEC, Carbios, UNESCO-IOC, MedPAN, Surfrider Foundation, Lorient Agglomeration, Ministry of Ecology and Sustainable Development of Energy, IUCN, CNRS, AFP, RFI, France 24, MCD.
THE SCIENTIFIC PARTNERS
Oceanography Laboratory of Villefranche-sur-Mer, CNRS, University of Michigan, University of Maine, NASA, Free University of Berlin, Pierre and Marie Curie University, IFREMER, Oceanological Observatory of Banyuls, University Bretagne Sud, Toulon University South University Aix Marseille Université de Corse.
*LOCAL AND REGIONAL ASSOCIATIONS INVOLVED TO DATE:
Expedition MED, Mohammed VI Foundation for the Environment, Acquario di Cala Gonone.
UNDER THE PATRONAGE OF Janez Potočnik, EUROPEAN COMMISSIONER – RESPONSIBLE FOR THE ENVIRONMENT
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