The Mediterranean region is characterised by a unique, rich, yet fragile biodiversity, hosted by many diverse ecosystems across the region, which together form an invaluable natural capital on which populations and economies depend. It is estimated that between 10,000 and 12,000 marine species thrive in the Mediterranean Sea. Around 20–30% of these species are endemic. Many of these species are threatened by a range of human activities. Pollution from land-based sources, such as discharges of excess nutrients and hazardous substances, marine litter, over-fishing, and degradation of critical habitats, are responsible for this biodiversity loss. 1.
According to studies, the Mediterranean is the most polluted sea in Europe2. The millions of tons of waste that find their way into the sea each year result in seriously injuring or killing marine species and polluting their natural environment. Additionally, the region has been identified as one of the main climate change hotspots (i.e. one of the areas most responsive to climate change) due to water scarcity, concentration of economic activities in coastal areas, and reliance on climate-sensitive agriculture 3.
We work together with Ghost Diving Greece and Enaleia, to reduce the harm old fishing nets cause. Fishermen are encouraged to collect and dispose of their useless fishing nets on land, and collection points have been established in many harbours, such as Piraeus, Mikrolimano, Lavrio and Michaniona. Through our collaboration with Diopas, waste fishing nets from fisheries and fish farms are also collected in Northern Greece and transported for regeneration.
We held 2 massive projects on the mythical island of Ithaca in 2021 and 2022 that resulted in the recovery of 101 tonnes of fishing nets and other marine litter.
We have been active in the Aeolian Islands and Lampedusa most recently, teaming up with underwater explorer Mario Arena and SDSS where several ships sunken during WWII Battle of the Convoys (1941-1943) were cleared of ghost nets.
Ghost Diving Spain joined us in 2021. The volunteer diving team is active not only underwater but also supporting us with education programmes in the vicinity of Barcelona.