Advert

Cousteau granddaughter charts Malta’s seas

Tyres found on the seabed off the Maltese coast. Photo: Oceana/Carlos MinguellTyres found on the seabed off the Maltese coast. Photo: Oceana/Carlos Minguell

The granddaughter of legendary sea explorer Jacques Cousteau filmed a short documentary as part of a wider initiative charting the sandbanks, reefs and marine caves around the Maltese coast.

Alexandra Cousteau is a senior adviser to NGO Oceana, which is striving to provide more protection for the island’s seas. She lends her environmental expertise and influence to help guide the organisation’s global campaigns to protect and restore the seas and oceans.

After carrying out a 70-day expedition around Malta’s seas last year, Oceana is again mapping the seabed using a remotely-operated vehicle and scuba divers.

Based on an analysis of the results gathered by the expeditions, the project partners will identify a list of proposed sites and submit their work to the Maltese government for designating marine protected areas under Natura 2000.

We’ve managed to swim at the same pace as jellyfish, see the way rays ‘fly’ and witness the hatching of cuttlefish eggs

Natura 2000 is a network of protected areas throughout the EU and is considered the largest coherent group of protected areas in the world. It aims at protecting Europe’s most vulnerable and threatened species and habitats.

Expedition member Enrique Talledo said in Oceana’s blog that each day has brought about a new experience.

“We’ve managed to swim at the same pace as jellyfish, see the way rays ‘fly’ and witness the hatching of cuttlefish eggs. I reassure myself again that these waters, at 1,500 metres depth, hold a high degree of biodiversity.

“These waters are home to over 12,000 animal species and to over 1,300 varieties of microalgae, of which 22 per cent are endemic. In this 0.8 per cent of the planet’s ocean surface, important ecosystems come together, like the Posidonia seagrass or deep-sea coral reefs,” Mr Talledo said.

He said that not a day went by without the crew coming across the remains of human activity during their dives. “Bits of loose ends, fishing lines, nets, tyres, plastic – can all be seen when we dive. I don’t want to think that, as our oceans fill up with rubbish, humans just turn a blind eye.

“So, from my little cabin, I want to send out a gentle reminder on that concern, so that we can continue to enjoy the seas, with the same respect and admiration that many of our ancestors had for our oceans,” Mr Talledo said.

Jacques Cousteau had a long connection with Malta - his famous ship Calypso was briefly used as a Gozo ferry before he bought it, hence the name. 

Advert

See our Comments Policy Comments are submitted under the express understanding and condition that the editor may, and is authorised to, disclose any/all of the above personal information to any person or entity requesting the information for the purposes of legal action on grounds that such person or entity is aggrieved by any comment so submitted. Please allow some time for your comment to be moderated.

Comments not loading? We recommend using Google Chrome or Mozilla Firefox with javascript turned on.
Comments powered by Disqus  
Advert
Advert