Lewis Pugh Aims to Be First to Undertake Long Distance Swim in Seven Seas Making Marine Protected Areas a Global Agenda Item
LANDOVER, Md., Aug. 5, 2014 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Lewis Pugh announced this morning the Seven Swims in The Seven Seas for 1 Reason expedition: a long distance swim in each of the Seven Seas (the Mediterranean, Adriatic, Aegean, Black, Red, Arabian and North Sea). Already the first person to complete a long distance swim in every ocean of the world, he will be the first person to undertake a long distance swim in each of the Seven Seas. The Khaled bin Sultan Living Oceans Foundation (KSLOF) is a proud partner of Seven Swims in The Seven Seas for 1 Reason.
The United Nations is urging all nations to set aside at least 10% of the world's oceans as effective and well-managed Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) by 2020. Approximately 13% of the world's land lies in protected areas, but less than 3% of the oceans are protected, and much of that receives little protection in practice. Much of KSLOF's work in ocean science, exploration and conservation, involves research in MPAs.
Lewis Pugh, a maritime lawyer, ocean advocate, pioneer swimmer and inspirational speaker, was named a Young Global Leader by the World Economic Forum in 2010 and appointed Patron of the Oceans by the United Nations (for more information, see http://lewispugh.com). His expeditions aim to bring global attention to the urgent need for conservation of the seas, as do the expeditions of KSLOF. KSLOF's flagship vessel, The Golden Shadow, is on a 5 year Global Reef Expedition, on which KSLOF scientists collaborate with local scientists and experts to research coral reefs all over the world.
Says Pugh, "This is my most ambitious expedition yet: Seven swims in each of the classical Seven Seas. The logistics are complex. The challenges are many. But the aim is simple: to protect our wonderful seas and their precious marine wildlife. . . . Many coral reefs are in decline – through habitat destruction in the Red and severe bleaching in the Arabian Sea. That's why we are calling on nations to proclaim Marine Protected Areas to safeguard all our seas as a matter of extreme urgency in the same way as terrestrial national parks gave us the Serengeti, the Kruger, and Yellowstone . . ."
Desmond Tutu joined Lewis at his final training session to wish him well and said: "When we damage the environment and don't protect our resources we create the conditions necessary for conflict . . . "
KSLOF has done extensive research in the Red Sea and has published the first ever atlas of the Red Sea's coral reefs. It works with government and non-government agencies in Saudi Arabia to ensure that the scientific knowledge obtained there is used to drive real conservation solutions.
For free downloads of KSLOF's Red Sea atlas, available in both English and Arabic, click here: http://www.livingoceansfoundation.org/publication/red-sea-atlas-english/
Supporting Seven Swims in The Seven Seas allows KSLOF to inspire more people about what they can do to help us save the world's seas and further its mission of conserving and restoring living oceans research, education and a commitment to Science Without Borders.®
Other partners in addition to the Khaled bin Sultan Living Oceans Foundation are the UN Environment Programme, Seacom, and The Oak Foundation.
For more information about the latest Lewis Pugh expedition, follow @livingoceansfdn on Twitter and https://www.facebook.com/livingoceansfoundation on Facebook.
Mediterranean Sea, 7-9th August, Monte Carlo, Monaco
It connects Europe, Africa and Asia. Although it holds less than 1% of the world's ocean waters, it is home to over 6% of the world's marine species (a quarter of which are found nowhere else). But along with its closed nature, and the intensity and range of human impacts on it, the Mediterranean has suffered severe declines in many species and habitats. Over-fishing is a major threat, and requires tighter regulation. MPAs are desperately needed to conserve species and habitats. Monaco is the first and only nation in the world to have designated all of her seas as MPAs. Lewis will begin his 7 Seas campaign with a swim off Monte Carlo to honor those efforts and to inspire other nations to do the same.
Adriatic Sea, 10-13th August, Zadar, Croatia (Kornati Islands)
It's a long flight from Africa to Northern Europe, and the Adriatic Sea provides a vital respite for migratory birds. Many bird species use the Adriatic's coast and wetlands to rest and recuperate. Sadly, hunters anticipate the rest period, picking off the exhausted birds in the thousands. The critically endangered slender-billed curlew has been reduced to as few as 50. Lewis is dedicating his Croatian swim to highlighting the near extinction of this unassuming species and the tragic loss of many others. This swim will highlight the need for a ban on bird hunting in and around MPAs with vulnerable bird populations.
Aegean Sea, 14-16th August, Athens, Greece
The Mediterranean Monk Seal was once plentiful in the Aegean, but after years of being shot or accidentally killed in fishing gear, numbers in Greece have plummeted to 200 –half the remaining world population. This makes it one of the most endangered mammals in the world. The Monk Seal's timid nature means that even slight disturbances can displace it from its last few breeding sites. Lewis' swim off Athens draws attention to the plight of an animal on the brink of extinction, and calls for strictly protected MPAs, especially in Gyaros.
Black Sea, 17-19th August, Istanbul, Turkey
Almost entirely enclosed by land, the Black Sea is especially vulnerable to pollution from its shores, rivers and visiting ships. The explosion of comb jelly populations here visibly demonstrates the devastating impacts of ballast water pollution on an ecosystem with no natural defense against this invasive species. Better regulation is helping the Black Sea recover from the ecological collapse of the 1990s, but it still needs greater protection, especially in the north, east and south, and Lewis' swim will highlight this need.
Red Sea, 20-22nd August, Aqaba, Jordan (Aqaba Marine Park to Tala Bay)
The Red Sea is adorned with luscious coral reefs, sea-grass, and mangroves. It has a dazzling array of fish, dolphins, turtles, corals and the enigmatic dugong. Mangroves are of particular importance to both people and wildlife. Mangroves stabilize coastal areas, support coral reef health, provide nursery grounds for young fish and other wildlife, timber for people, and food for domestic livestock. Through his swim, Lewis calls for greater protection and restoration of mangroves, particularly in Djibouti and Eritrea.
Arabian Sea, 23-26th August, Rass Al Hadd, Oman
Spanning from East Africa to West India, this sea is home to an impressive range of beautiful, yet vulnerable, species and habitats. Its diverse and productive coral reefs have suffered severe coral bleaching – up to 80% in some areas – from global warming. This is set to intensify as sea temperatures rise. It's a bleak outlook for coral reef habitats, and urgent action is needed to reduce climate change at a global level, combined with protection at the local level. Well-managed MPAs can reduce stressors and may improve the ability of corals to withstand and recover from the temperature spikes that cause coral bleaching episodes. Lewis' swim raises the call to action to protect and restore coral reefs.
North Sea, 27-29th August, London, UK (South End to Parliament)
The North Sea is nearly barren of the so-called common skate, the 'manta ray of the north.' The North Sea once teamed with fish and other wildlife, but now the skate, along with other large fish, are critically endangered. Decades of trawling have destroyed delicate seabed habitats. While the UK has designated a number of MPAs, there are none in the North Sea to protect skates. Lewis's final swim will start in the North Sea and progress up the Thames to London, where he'll call on the UK Government to save this impressive species from extinction in the UK by banning mobile fishing gears in enough MPAs to restore habitat and the remnant populations of threatened species.
About the Khaled bin Sultan Living Oceans Foundation
The Khaled bin Sultan Living Oceans Foundation (LOF), founded by Khaled bin Sultan, is conducting the world's largest coral reef survey and high resolution mapping expedition, as part of its 5 year Global Reef Expedition. The Expedition is helping LOF realize its mission to provide science-based solutions to protect and restore ocean health. As part of its commitment to Science Without Borders®, Living Oceans provides its data and information to leading ocean-focused organizations, governments, scientists, and local communities so that they can use knowledge to work toward sustainable ocean protection. For more information visit www.livingoceansfoundation.org
SOURCE Khaled bin Sultan Living Oceans Foundation