Despite the beautiful surrounds, there won't be much time for
sun onthe deck - we are working with the International Fund for
AnimalWelfare (IFAW) and the University of the Azores (UAC) to
researchamazing deep sea habitats which are particularly threatened
destructive fishing practices.
The waters around the Azores are home to some stunning marine
life andhabitats, including vast mountains under the sea known as
seamounts(the 9 Azorean islands themselves are in fact mountain
peaks of thegiant mid-Atlantic ridge), giant squid and up to 26
different types ofwhales and dolphins; including the legendary
For this leg of the expedition, the Esperanzahas been equipped
with state of the art monitoring equipment, includinga remote
operating vehicle (ROV) which can shoot video down to a depthof
300m, and a drop camera capable of reaching depths of 1,000 metres
-giant squid territory! The ship will become part of the ongoing
UACresearch program intended to establish greater scientific
knowledge ofthe importance of deep-sea habitats and marine
Whale photo ID
Also on board will be a sperm whale researcherfrom IFAW who will
continue their programme of monitoring anddocumenting the
populations in the area. The Esperanza now has ahydrophone and
specially developed computer software to acousticallydetect sperm
whales. Photographic documentation of whales will alsohelp to add
to the regional photo-id catalogue, which is managed byIFAW.
Deep sea habitats are particularly vulnerable to
destructivefishing practices, such as bottom trawling, because the
marine life onand around them are usually very slow to grow and
mature. Bottomtrawling can turn once thriving deep-sea oases into
bare, broken andempty deserts, before scientists can even begin to
understand the valueof what is there.
Ending the destruction
In December 2005 the Azorean governmentachieved their aim of
securing a European ban on bottom trawling in itswaters, after two
years of protest. This joint Greenpeace, IFAW, UACexpedition will
make the case for a global moratorium on high seasbottom trawling.
And not only that, it supports the wider aim of ourmost ambitious
ship expedition ever, to push for a properly enforcedglobal network
of marine reserves.
So stay tuned for some amazing images, fascinating whalephotos,
and fingers and tentacles crossed for some giant squid… makesure
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