First Healthy Seas Mission in the Ionian Sea

First Healthy Seas Mission in the Ionian Sea

HMS Perseus cleanup

Recap: Our mission in Kefalonia, July 22-26, 2020

“A Turtle’s Fear”, narrated by Gelareh Darabi

Ghost fishing is a severe threat for all seven species of sea turtles found worldwide. When caught in a net or a fishing line, it can cause them severe injuries and infections, with fatal results. Sea turtles are also at risk of drowning when entangled because they cannot surface to breathe.
The Ionian Sea is a major migratory route for Loggerhead turtles (Caretta caretta) that nest in the surrounding islands and mainland, and host to the Mediterranean’s top 2 nesting beaches.
Healthy Seas was informed of several locations around the island of Kefalonia where ghost nets have been lost and together with Ghost Diving, will be carrying out its first mission in the Ionian Sea.

Volunteer divers from the Netherlands and Greece will organise several removal dives during July 24-26th and the team will also hold a public event in Argostoli to raise awareness about marine pollution caused by ghost fishing.
The cleanups aim at making the Ionian a safer habitat for sea turtles and other marine species.

On Sunday, July 26th, we are organizing an awareness raising event in Argostoli. The event will include:
A photo and video exhibition. Through 10 breathtaking photographs, participants will be able to witness the problem of ghost fishing in different spots around the European seas, and though videos they will be able to show how volunteer divers recover these nets.

An educational activity for children. With the help of a local childrens’ activity centre we will give children the opportunity to “experience” our diving missions. By wearing their snorkeling masks, children will be asked to symbolically rescue marine animals from ghost nets, and release them to a colorful, healthy sea. They will untangle marine animal paper cut outs from the net, color them, write their names on them, and attach them to a canvas depicting the sea. Divers will hand out certificates to the children to thank them for their participation and acknowledge their passion for the protection of the seas.

© Thodoris Trigas

An artistic installation. Local artist Micheline Divaris will be working on an artistic installation 2 weeks prior to the event and add the final touches during our public event. On a real buoy that she found floating between Kefalonia and Ithaka islands, she will create a marine themed mosaic and the whole artistic piece will be featuring destroyed nets obtained from local fishermen which they can no longer use, preventing them from ending up in the landfill.

The event is designed to target the local community (children and adults), local fishing associations, and members of local port and civil authorities along with representatives from local associations, the Ainos National Park, the national and international media and various local businesses.

It is organized within MIO-ECSDE’s ‘Mediterranean Action Day 2020’ on the importance of marine and coastal Natura 2000 sites supported by the LIFE+ Operating Grant for NGOs.

The recovered nets will be transformed, together with other nylon waste, into ECONYL® yarn, the basis for new sustainable products.