This October Oceana embarked on a 1-month at-sea expedition in the Mediterranean Sea to document and explore submarine canyons and deep-sea areas in Lebanese waters. This is Oceana in Europe’s 27th expedition in 13 years and the 4th this year but the 1st time carrying out research in the eastern shore of the Mediterranean. The overall idea behind this expedition is to establish marine protected areas (MPAs) in Lebanon and devise management plans to ensure that any potential MPA identified in this expedition is subsequently protected by the Lebanese authorities from human activity.
Up to now only 4.5% of the entire Mediterranean has been legally protected from human activity and most of the current protected areas are located in shallow waters and not in deep-sea and submarine canyons, meaning there has been limited protection for benthic deep-sea habitats. The Lebanon expedition will therefore help to hit a 10% target by 2020 to protect marine and coastal, as part of the Convention on Biodiversity’s Aichi Biodiversity targets for 2011-2020.
To find out more on the expedition, check out our on-board diaries!
This project was possible thanks to the generous support of MAVA Foundation. Key partners for implementation are IUCN and UNEP/MAP - RAC/SPA . The Lebanese Ministry of Environment is key member of the Steering Committee, and ACCOBAMS, GFCM and CNRS are supportive partners.