Following a year of forced hiatus due to the new coronavirus pandemic, World Wildlife Fund's (WWF) ship Blue Panda started a five-month voyage to draw attention to the unique natural treasures of the Mediterranean and save the sea from ghost nets.
Ghost nets are lost, abandoned or discarded fishing gear left by fishermen. The proliferation of discarded ghost nets is a major issue for marine life and sea habitats.
During the journey, the Blue Panda will visit six iconic marine protected areas (MPAs) to save them from ghost nets that pose a serious threat to the Mediterranean. The sailboat will discover the natural, social and cultural values of these unique coastal regions.
The unique marine habitats of the marine protected areas, which will be visited during the journey that will last until November, and the species they host will be highlighted.
The ship started its 2021 journey titled “Preserving the Treasures of the Mediterranean” from the Portofino Marine Protected Area in Italy. Until November Blue Panda will visit Zakynthos in Greece, Kaş-Kekova in Turkey, Cap Corse in France, Tabarka in Tunisia and Tagomago in Spain.
Blue Panda, which will come to Turkey between Aug. 4-14, will visit Kaş-Kekova Marine Protected Area and then Göcek and Çeşme.
It will also sail to Marseille, where the World Nature Conservation Congress will be held by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) in September, and call on policymakers and scientists to protect at least 30% of the Mediterranean.
Aslı Pasinli, the head of WWF Turkey, said that it is important to draw attention to this problem.
“This time, the Blue Panda set out to draw attention to the importance of marine protected areas for the future of our seas. If we want to transfer the resources of the Mediterranean, which creates $450 billion (TL 3.90 trillion) a year from sea-related activities to future generations, we need to act urgently,” she said.
In 2019, the Blue Panda has been making stops at key ports in the Mediterranean with the hope of stemming the tide of plastics choking the world's natural environment.
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