BICREF inspires mariners to go for the environmental challenge
The Biological Conservation Research Group (BICREF) inspired the crews of yachts participating in the Rolex Middle Sea Race (RMSR) to keep accurate records of all their dolphin and whale sightings over the 608 nautical mile race.
Starting from Malta, race participants made their way around Sicily, down to Lampedusa and back to Malta. All these silent sailing travellers are not ignored by the different marine mammals in these waters, which often join the race and lead the boats – adding a dose of joy, enthusiasm and energy at any time of day and night and in rough or calm seas.
In collaboration with the Royal Malta Yacht Club, BICREF – which is an NGO – set out on this incredibly positive experience with yachtsmen from all over the world back in 2000 and has managed to maintain this effort over the years, receiving compliments for both the project itself and for its determination in putting it into practise.
The 2016 winner of the increasingly prestigious BICREF– RMSR Best Dolphin and Whale Sightings Award was the crew of the Benemedo, with the crew of Unica as runner-up.
BICREF has been assisting conservation biologist Dr Adriana Vella in her long-term research campaigns that involve most sea-users contributing to what has become a well-known national effort towards awareness and science in respect of these vulnerable species. Dolphins and whales in Maltese waters and beyond stand as flagship species for marine conservation.
Although Dr Vella’s research encompasses various other species and habitats needing protection, she has worked to involve people who are interested in various ways of increasing meaningful participation and learning in the process.
In fact, BICREF supplied all the RMSR participants with an identification key to allow them to learn about the different dolphin and whale species that can be seen in the central Mediterranean.
Earlier this year, BICREF was one of the organisers of the first international workshop on these species which was held in Ischia, Italy. This workshop brought together experts and researchers from all around the Mediterranean to see how these species may be saved through detailed research and timely management.
For further information on BICREF’s work and on cetacean research in Maltese waters contact: firstname.lastname@example.org or Dr Adriana Vella on email@example.com
Photo shows the endangered Mediterranean common dolphins, Delphinus delphis taken by crew members of the yacht Benemedo