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Earlier this week, Oceana in Europe launched their second expedition to the Canary Islands. This expedition focuses on the waters around the island of El Hierro, which is expected to become the first marine national park in Spain. This one-month campaign aims to map seamounts north of Lanzarote, the easternmost Canary Island, and around Sahara, the southernmost point of the Spanish Exclusive Economic Zone.

A couple of weeks ago, I took a summer course at my University called ‘’International Nature Conservation’’ and I think it’s safe to say that so far, it’s the most interesting course I’ve ever had. Among many issues and subjects, we got to do IUCN species assessments using their criteria, prioritizing areas of interest for protection, and looking into biodiversity hotspots.

It is said that the Mediterranean Sea is the world's most dangerous place for sharks and rays, as 4 out of 10 species are threatened. But along with the threat of overfishing, there is another factor that puts these wonderful creatures at risk:  oil exploration. As you might know, we made a list of endangered species living in the area affected by the proposed Cairn Energy oil exploration project in the Gulf of Valencia. Around 180 species are affected in total, and along with some fish, the most vulnerable species are actually sharks.

On Sunday morning, we left Sandhamn and sailed northwest to the Gulf of Bothnia where we will carry out more research on marine litter in the Baltic Sea. On board, we are divided into watch teams. This way, everyone takes their turn to work and carry out daily tasks, despite being as inexperienced in sailing as I am.

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