The Mediterranean is our common home. We are part of it and depend on it. We cannot speak of healthy Greek seas unless we work together to keep the Mediterranean alive. Life in this corner of the Earth, our corner, is truly flourishing. The great variety of unique marine creatures that live in the Mediterranean makes it one of the most ecologically important areas on the planet. At the same time, it is part of our history, our memories, and our daily life, as it provides food and income to millions of people.
However, centuries of human impact are now applying intense pressure on the Mediterranean. The need for immediate and coordinated action is necessary today more than ever before. This is the only way that we can harmoniously coexist with nature and secure prosperity, health, and security for all. There are several complicated “wagers” in play: from the climate crisis that directly impacts our common sea to plastic and chemical pollution, overfishing, and pressure from the enormous amount of tourist traffic, increased maritime traffic, and absurd hydrocarbon extraction plans.
In the face of all these challenges, we must redefine our relationship with nature, develop solutions together, and open a path towards a future in which humanity and the sea coexist harmoniously. Together, we can do it.
The Mediterranean is considered one of the 25 most important biodiversity hotspots in the world.
Just 1.27% of the marine area of the Mediterranean is effectively protected.
Although it covers an area that is less than 1% of the world’s oceans, it is home to 10% of all marine species, while 1/4 of them live only here.
As WWF Greece, we are part of the Mediterranean Marine Initiative (MMI) and we join our forces on a daily basis with all the WWF national offices in the region to protect our common home, the Mediterranean.
The Mediterranean Marine Initiative brings together WWF Italy, WWF Greece, WWF France, WWF Spain, WWF Turkey, WWF Adria, WWF North Africa, the WWF European Policy Office, WWF International, and the regional office (MedPO). We work together to respond to the threats faced by the Mediterranean. In order to keep the sea and coastline alive and healthy for the generations to come, and to ensure the region’s ecological balance, we need to take measures and provide solutions. That is why we implement programmes that are related to fishing, spatial planning, marine protected areas, tourism, the prevention of marine pollution, and the protection of endangered species, while informing and raising the awareness of citizens and tourists of the Mediterranean.
As WWF Greece, we play an active role in the MMI, while also implementing pioneering programmes in the Greek seas on:
- sustainable fisheries, where we work together with fishermen, scientists, authorities, and businesses to breathe life into small scale fisheries, while protecting marine life
- marine protected areas, aiming at saving important species and habitats
- supporting livelihoods in local communities and the responsible consumption of fish
© Αποστόλης Ζαμπλάκος / WWF Ελλάς
In 2019 we started this journey of providing information and raising awareness throughout the Mediterranean. A journey filled with adventure, knowledge and involvement with local communities. With our sailboat, Blue Panda, we joined the voice of the Mediterranean with local communities and tourists. Over the course of 6 months, we visited 6 countries and 8 cities, raising public awareness on plastics. In Greece, however – in addition to our plastics campaign – we also joined communities in the fight against one of the greatest threats ever faced by Greek seas: oil and natural gas extraction. With stops in Zakynthos, Ithaki, and Kefalonia, we opened our sails and raised our voice for a living Mediterranean, without the haunting threat of drilling.
A big success
Among our most important achievements is the political commitment to the establishment of a sustainable framework for Mediterranean small scale fisheries, which took the form of a Ministerial Declaration signed by 18 countries and the EU
ACTIONS ON OUR ISLANDS
From 20 to 30 July 2019, we visited Zakynthos, Ithaki, and Kefalonia, where we held actions in collaboration with local groups and islanders.
Blue Panda’s first journey
Our first journey started in May 2019 and was completed in November 2019. On Blue Panda we visited a total of 6 Mediterranean countries: France, Italy, Greece, Turkey, Tunisia, and Morocco.
The Mediterranean is our common home. Our history, our summers, our health and our income. By protecting the Mediterranean, we are protecting ourselves and the unique marine species it hosts, such as whales, Mediterranean seals and dolphins. We need you now!