Throughout the duration of the Pacific expedition, Tara will be a partner of the International Coral Reef Initiative, with France co-chairing alongside Madagascar from 2016 to 2018 — an opportunity to share observations and scientific objectives.
The International Coral Reef Initiative (ICRI) aims to bring together governments, scientific institutions, non-governmental and international organizations to improve good management practices and share our knowledge about the world’s coral reefs. The collaboration between the Tara Expeditions Foundation and ICRI will expand the visibility, research impact, and data from the scientific team, and bolster the awareness of elected officials and Pacific island populations, especially during the International Year Of Reefs.
Tara anchored in the warm waters of the Bahamas, before heading to Miami © Maéva Bardy / Tara Expeditions Foundation
Romain Troublé (executive director of the Tara Expeditions Foundation) explains that “the ICRI is an international network whose goal is to monitor reefs across the planet. The Tara Pacific expedition will work within this international framework. On the way to the Pacific, and during the expedition, Tara and her team will raise public awareness about the major issues affecting reefs, and encourage initiatives for sustainable management.“
“The idea is to take advantage of Tara’s stopovers in the Pacific, including French overseas territories, to implement local actions around coral reefs and promote the work produced by Tara’s teams“, says Pascal Colin, in charge of environmental issues at the Ministry of Overseas France — the main financial support of IFRECOR, a French version of ICRI. “We will discuss the worldwide coral bleaching phenomenon and plan to develop a charter of good practice to which local representatives of the Pacific Islands can subscribe. Today, a major focus of our work, based on scientific research from sources like Tara, is to raise the awareness of stakeholders and local decision-makers, but also of public school children and youth“.
Macroscopic photography of coral © BioQuest Studios
The French Coral Reef Initiative (IFRECOR), celebrating 15 years of existence in 2016, works for the preservation and sustainable management of coral reefs and associated ecosystems (seagrass beds, mangroves) in overseas territories. On May 31st, the 5th edition of the Palme IFRECOR was held at the Ministry of Overseas France, and two initiatives were rewarded for their relevance in responding to the issues and challenges posed by climate change.
The winner is the Mangrove Observatory project, led by Eric Gay, Mayor of Mont-Dore in New Caledonia. Thanks to the installation of experimental greenhouses and given the climate changes observed in this region, the evolving capacities of mangroves to capture CO2 can be determined. The jury’s favorite was the Pukatai project and its educational marine areas in the Marquesas Islands, led by Felix Barsinas, chairman of Marquesas Islands communities. The goal is to educate Marquesan children about their natural and cultural heritage and to unite them in sustainable management by direct involvement in safety measures to protect these Pacific gems.