Archipelagos Institute of Marine Conservation was recently awarded the title “ACCOBAMS Partner”. The ACCOBAMS Agreement on the Protection of Cetaceans in the Black Sea and the Mediterranean, aims to reduce the risks and dangers that threaten cetaceans (dolphins, whales, porpoises) in the region. The ACCOBAMS Agreement also promotes actions that enhance research on cetaceans, and aims to develop and implement measures to help protect them and reduce the increasing anthropogenic threats to their survival.
The title “ACCOBAMS Partner” is awarded to selected scientific institutions with proven expertise in cetacean research and conservation.
Archipelagos Institute of Marine Conservation has been working in the Greek seas and NE Mediterranean for 15 years, implementing research on cetaceans and collecting data on their populations and the factors that threaten them – data which is necessary for the development of actions and measures that contribute to their protection. This research is being carried out in collaboration with universities and specialized scientists from Greece and abroad.
Coupling the research work, Archipelagos has created an Emergency Response Network which aims to both locate incidents of entrapment, injury or stranding of cetaceans and other protected marine species, as well as to provide first aid, wherever it is required. This network is constantly enriched by volunteers and active citizens, comprising of professional and recreational fishermen, sailors, divers, port authorities and other members of the public who live or work at sea or in coastal areas and are interested in acting to protect them. The Emergency Response Network works in close collaboration with the Department of Veterinary Medicine, of the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki.
It is important to realise that the NE Mediterranean and especially the Aegean Sea, is still a refuge for some of the most important remaining populations of marine mammals in the Mediterranean and Europe. However, due to the increasing anthropogenic threats, such as over-fishing and pollution, their survival is put at stake.
It is also worth noting that it took only 3-4 generations for the healthy and productive seas which were inherited by our ancestors, to be degraded and their wildlife to put at risk.
The question remains: will our seas be able to remain productive and healthy, supporting both the survival of cetaceans and a rich sea life, as well as the many thousands of our fellow citizens who are directly dependent the sustainability of our marine resources?