Ocean Census scientists explain why we must act now to preserve ocean life.
In the midst of pivotal discussions at COP28, the Ocean Census Macaronesia Expedition welcomed Counsellor Mariano H. Zapata, Ecological Transition and Energy, Government of the Canary Islands, to mission headquarters at Radazul Marina, Tenerife. This visit marks a significant alignment between global environmental policy and local conservation initiatives. The Minister’s presence underscores the urgency and importance of collaborative efforts in addressing climate change and its impact on marine ecosystems.
The intense 21-day mission, running from 27 November to 17 December 2023, is co-delivered in partnership with the Jesús Ortea Research Group, Museo de Ciencias Naturales de Tenerife (MUNA), Universidad de La Laguna (ECOMAR), and Instituto Español de Oceanografía (IEO). Launched earlier this year by The Nippon Foundation and Nekton Foundation, this Ocean Census flagship expedition represents a significant step toward discovering 100,000 new marine species over the next decade.
Counsellor Zapata thanked Ocean Census for choosing the Canary Islands as an open sea laboratory and extended a hand to the scientific community to encourage more projects like this to choose the archipelago as a reference location:
“This programme will be very necessary for the Government of the Canary Islands to work on conservation strategies for marine ecosystems and fight against climate change.”
Echoing this sentiment, Ocean Census Director Oliver Steeds OBE emphasised the synergy between this expedition and the broader goals of COP28:
“Our mission transcends scientific discovery; it’s a clarion call for global leaders at COP28 to recognise and respond to the ecological crisis our ocean faces. This expedition is a testament to our resolve to unveil the hidden treasures of marine life, informing critical conservation strategies.”
This mission is more than a scientific endeavour; it’s a beacon of hope. Amidst the backdrop of climate-induced adversities in Tenerife, such as rising ocean temperatures and severe weather events, the Ocean Census expedition team is determined to chart a course of optimism. Early dives and reconnaissance missions have already hinted at potential new discoveries, fueling the belief that timely action can still avert a catastrophic loss of biodiversity.
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Watch the video hear our team deliver their message: