WATCH! World Oceans Day – Dolphins and whales in Gibraltar!

Photo credit : Shutterstock

Today marks World Oceans Day which has been celebrated on the 8th June every year since 2002. The Department of the Environment has typically celebrated World Oceans Day at Rosia Bay, together with non-governmental organisations, in order to raise awareness on marine conservation and highlight the importance of protecting Gibraltar’s coastal environment. Although this year’s pandemic has prevented the Department from reaching out to the public in the field, work on monitoring our marine environment has continued in earnest.

For 2020, World Oceans Day is growing the global movement to call on world leaders to protect 30% of the world’s ocean by 2030 – a campaign called 30×30. Gibraltar has already designated 63% of its territorial waters as a Marine Protected Area (MPA), known as the Southern Waters of Gibraltar MPA, within which there are highly protected no-fishing zones. Recent sightings of Fin whales migrating through British Gibraltar Territorial Waters (BGTW), as well as large pods of the highly intelligent Bottlenose dolphin, have undoubtedly helped raise awareness on the global importance of Gibraltar’s Southern Waters MPA for cetaceans and also for a variety of marine wildlife such as turtles, sunfish, sharks and seabirds. These sightings also provide context to the existing conservation measures in place within British Gibraltar Territorial Waters such as the prohibition on the use of fishing nets that are a known threat to marine animals.

With increasing calls to extend highly protected marine areas in the Mediterranean, the Department will continue to research and monitor the wealth of marine biodiversity found in BGTW using innovative techniques to help ensure that our waters are internationally recognised as an important marine biodiversity hotspot requiring strict conservation measures.

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Cassandra

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