more one navigates around the Mediterranean Sea, the more one realises
that it is in danger, as we are exploiting it much more than it can take.
Mediterranean, 2,500,000 square kilometres, bathes three continents,
Europe, Asia and Africa and probably for this reason became the birthplace
of Western civilization.
Med is a closed sea, bordered by 21 countries and joined to the Atlantic
ocean only by a narrow strait at Gibralta, only eight miles wide, which provides
only a limited capacity of renewal of the waters, which takes around a
are innumerable rivers that empty into the Med, including the Black sea,
which is bordered by several other countries and flows into the Med with
all its polluted water, through the Bosforus strait at Istanbul. At
will always find hundreds of ships at anchor waiting to slip from one sea
to the other, giving one an idea of the immense traffic of ships back and
forth across the Med, with all the risk of pollution that this implies,
with their cargoes of petroleum and many dangerous chemicals and goods. What’s worse is
that many of these ships are old and obsolete and pose a serious threat to
the already waining health of the Mediterranean sea.
these polluted waters continuosly flowing into the Mediterranean, its ecological balance
and all its marine life is seriously threatened. Over
100 million people live along its coastlines and in Summer they are joined
by another 100 million people, adding to the weight and impact of man that
the Med has to bear.
many years of sailing the Med I have noted that the coastlines are
becoming ever more built up, often with ugly buildings without any regard
for the natural beauty of the area. The sea itself is being depaupered by
technically advanced fishing methods on an industrial scale and all but
the deepest parts are literally swept clean by illegal uncontrolled
trawlers. I have seen swordfish nets in the middle of the Med, kilometres
in length not giving the fish a chance, neither tuna, dolfins, turtles nor
whales and the larger fish are becoming ever more rare. We are in fact
fishing many varieties into extintion. You can find tinned tuna in every
food stall in the world and you can note that the big fish are hardly ever
found in the fish markets and most of the fish actually come from fish
farms, which are also polluting the sea.
recent increased popularity of family boating has resulted in many more
marinas being built and a flood of impromptu sailors taking to the sea
without a proper training in environmental conservation and a consequent
pollution of the sea floor.
global warming that the whole world is facing also has consequences for
the Meditarranean. New species of seaweed and tropical fish are making
headway and overcoming the local flora and fauna, irreparably transforming
the natural habitat of the Mediterranean. A rise in sea level will have
unimaginable consequences for the coastline and for the people living
there, especially in the low-lying floodplains.
must all become aware of the risks that our wonderful Mediterranean is
running and do our best to overcome them to save the Med.
of all, consider the decay rate of the following materials, which all too
often are recklessly thrown into the sea:
up to a million years
cruising sailors can help by becoming more environmentally aware and
taking some simple precautions that will help keep the Med clean and
holding tank to keep the marinas and harbours clean
keeping on board thin plastic plates and cups which eventually are blown
overboard and finish on the sea floor
extreme caution in filling outboard fuel tanks
only bio-degradeable soaps and detergents on board
that only organic waste be discarded into the sea and the rest
scrupulously deposited in appropriate recepticles ashore
more devastating types of anti-fouling paints
· Install wind generator and/or solar panels to avoid fuel use for charging batteries
of power boats should be used for transport, not as a means for creating
speed for its own sake.
Suggestions for governments
Mediterranean basin is unique, with its many fascinating countries,
cultures, history and natural attractions and could become the playground
of the world tourism. National governments and international bodies should
do their part and protect the environment and foster the economical
potential of tourism.
poluting industrial complexes and oil refineries on the coastlines
incentives for coastal tourism
bureaucracy for creating marinas
bureaucracy for the international circulation of cruising boats
coastlines from undue speculation and concentrate buildings only in
national parks and wildlife sanctuaries along the coastlines
preference to nuclear power over petroleum
emission restrictions on power boats and speed limits in proximity of the
· Educate the masses on environment protection
· Regularly clean beaches, coastlines and nearby sea beds
the microbiological quality of bathing waters
efficient sewage treatment plants for coastal cities
efficient garbage collection from boats and marinas
an efficient Search and Rescue Service
oil tankers and poisonous cargoes far from the coastlines and tourist
resorts and control for oil spills
the maintenance state and safety of the national cargoe ships
maritime environmental research
with other Mediterranean countries through international bodies holding
regular meetings and symposiums
industrial CO2 emission to reduce global warming
cooperation by all nations is essential, otherwise the efforts of one
well-meaning nation will be thwarted by the negligence of another.
the underdeveloped African states bordering the Med create a chain of
efficient marinas, at most 30 miles apart along their coastlines, then the
wealthy northern maritime tourism flows will be tempted to sail south and
discover new destinations. This is all the more feasible now with the ever
increasing size of the average cruising boat and the new tecnology that
makes long distance cruising easier and safer.
high quality tourism will produce much local economic well-being, with a
limited impact on nature and encourage governments to clean up their
coastlines and preserve the environment and their natural tourist
we increase our awareness and all do our bit in reducing the impact of
human activity on nature, we can save the Med and continue enjoying this
magnificent cruising playground for many generations to come.
The Mediterranean Sea