Marine ecosystems are some of the most fragile environments prone to considerable risks able to jeopardize plant and animal species. How can we effectively protect Oceans? Monaco Ocean Week 2019 offered some practical inputs to keep them a precious resource for the Planet Earth. Human actions can drive to a fundamental change of attitude that starts from respecting oceans boosting a sustainable exploitation of related products and services.Ecotourism, for example, can play as a crucial economic driving force as long as it brings mutual benefit to the marine biodiversity. That was clear from the debate promoted, last Tuesday (26th March 2019) at the Yacht Club de Monaco, by Association Monaco Argentina (AMA), which has been involved in educational, culture and health projects since its establishment in 2006. A panel of stakeholders focused on how to protect Southern Right Whales in Patagonia (Argentina). In that area, the number of those ocean mammals, cornerstones of healthy marine environment for their capacities to increase nutrients in the deep sea, is still relevant despite abnormal mortalities has been registered in the Valdés Peninsula since 2003. Whale-watching has begun, then, an important local business source in close liaison with a respectful approach of Nature as a result of close cooperation among tourist operators and locals, as pointed out by Romina Bottazzi, President of “Fundación Protejamos Patagonia”, new NGO based in Puerto Pirámides. Eco-tourism is open to evaluate economically fauna species considered as a common asset for humanity to be enjoyed with all due respect. A sustainable way of travelling for leisure is already a reality involving the style of life of eco-tourists, as highlighted by an interesting survey conducted by Stephanie Stefanski, environmental policy and economics Ph.D. candidate at the Duke Nicholas School of the Environment (NY, USA). Observing cetaceans in their own environment plays as a key tool to make new generations and adults arouse eco-awareness and knowledge on marine biodiversity pushing them to react environmentally-friendly. On these basis, professor Enrique Alberto Crespo, researcher specialized in marine mammals at the renowned Centro Nacional Patagónico (CONICET) testified that combination between human actions and iconic ocean fauna can be productive, if respectful and educational. The launch of the ‘Aire Marine Éducative de Monaco’ by the will of the Monegasque Association for the Protection of Nature, held at the Musée Océanographique on Wednesday morning (27th March 2019), in the presence of H.S.H. the Sovereign Prince and students from the École de Révoires, fits perfectly with the need to involve children and their parents in co-managing a coastal area of environmental importance, acting as eco-ambassadors. Protecting the Oceans needs always a scientific contribution to better understand marine ecosystems and fix due scenarios to fight against major menaces like climate change and sea pollution. The ACCOBAMS Permanent Secretariat, in partnership with Monaco Soroptimist Club and Prince Albert II of Monaco Foundation, presented on Wednesday evening at the Yacht Club de Monaco: “A look at the Mediterranean Sea: Focus on the surprising results of an unprecedented campaign”. In fact, ACCOBAMS Survey Initiative showed the prestigious audience a scientifically-proved overview on the state of health and the Mediterranean distribution of megafauna per species thanks to an aerial and submarine view. A fleet of equipped airplanes and vessels, with 100 scientific observers hosted inside, made the mapping coverage. Knowledge, inter-state cooperation and scientific coordination are pillars for monitoring marine biodiversity, as highlighted by Florence Descroix-Comanducci, ACCOBAMS Secretary General. Furthermore, ACCOBAMS Survey witnessed a serious spreading of macro-plastics (more than 11,000 objects) floating in all Mediterranean Basin. A wake-up call for each of us! What can people do? The most effective way to prevent plastics to invade our environment and food chain is not using them anymore. Before ACCOBAMS reporting, The Animal Fund (TAF) a non-profit marine mammal conservation association operating in Monaco and France, provided a useful best practice list of actions. What about starting using sanitary products, cooking utensils, kitchen clothes, straws, clips, six pack rings & mugs, all plastic free? And package-less food-stuff? And reusable market bags? More and more people are ready to change their lifestyle as testified by “Whaleton, running for the Ocean”, TAF special marathon to say “No to plastic and Yes to the Ocean”, that last Saturday, on the 23rd March 2019, in Menton, gathered 400 eco-runners led by the record woman, Paula Radcliffe.
For further details about Monaco Ocean Week please visit: www.monacooceanweek.org/en/