Giving Back to Protect the Dolphins.
At Chantecaille we try to work specifically on projects of conservation that can make a real difference. Urgency is also a major factor—and this is ultra urgent. To support the dolphin's survival worldwide, Chantecaille will give 5% of sales from Les Dauphins palette to Giovanni Bearzi, a Pew Fellow of Marine Conservation and president of Tethys Research Institute—a non-profit NGO for the study and the conservation of the marine environment in the Mediterranean. The Tethys Research Institute has been studying Mediterranean whales and dolphins for two decades and has become one of the foremost research organizations working in the area.
If we do not act now the last dolphin will be gone by next year.
Greece is the birthplace of the western civilization, and dolphins were an integral part of that civilization. Killing dolphins in antiquity was punishable by death. Although dolphins are disappearing all over the world, we cannot allow it to happen in Greece. Supporting the incredible dedication of scientists like Giovanni is how we all make a difference.
Giovanni described to us his fight to help save these precious creatures and what we can do to help:
"I have been studying dolphins in Mediterranean coastal waters for a quarter of century. Fifteen years ago, I started working with short-beaked common dolphins in western Greece. In the transparent blue waters of the Inner Ionian Sea, there were plenty of these marine mammals, 150 in a small area. They surrounded the boat every day and played with our inflatable. For a cetacean researcher, it was paradise.
We used to see common dolphins every day, then it became once a month. Now, we hardly see them at all. Their prey, anchovies and sardines, have been wiped out by overfishing. If immediate fisheries management measures are not taken, these dolphins will likely disappear, perhaps forever.
For a decade, my colleagues and I have been trying to promote management action aimed at preserving the local ecosystem. We have been working hard to document the reasons behind dolphin decline, disseminate information and propose management solutions. Sadly, however, no action was taken.
Dolphins used to be common throughout the Mediterranean Sea. Today, they survive only in a few portions of their former habitat. Prey depletion caused by overfishing, incidental mortality in fishing gear and habitat degradation threatens the few remaining groups.
Decline of common dolphins means something is wrong with our way of treating marine ecosystems. Careless exploitation of marine resources and destructive fishing cause tremendous damage. This does not only affect the dolphins. Aggression and mismanagement turn former marine paradises into deserts, artisanal fishermen are left without a job, and nature-watching opportunities evaporate together with the value and cultural tissue of an area.
The waters of Greece harbor a remarkable richness of dolphins and whales compared to the rest of the Mediterranean Sea. Yet, such richness is progressively eroding. Measures to halt and reverse such devastation should be grounded in a widespread appreciation of the range of goods and services provided by healthy marine ecosystems. Such process will only be successful if marine conservation is incorporated into the system of values of the Greek general public. An effective conservation strategy must become a national affair, through which people are made aware of the links between their individual behavior and the state of the environment.
Those who care about dolphin conservation must manage to communicate and convince, fascinate and convey absorption towards the fate of a wonderful world that is progressively fading away.
Losing dolphins from the Greek Seas – a disaster in progress - is one of the many signs of a pervasive and progressive loss of natural treasures. It is not only cetaceans but the general health of the marine environment that needs to be addressed in a holistic way, consistent with a wealth of international, European and national legal instruments that Greece has committed to implement.
So, what can we do?
As voters, we can empower sensible politicians and support those who advocate sustainable fisheries and marine protected areas. We also can write to the new Greek Fisheries Commissioner, Maria Damanaki , and encourage her to support the CALL to save the last dolphins of the Inner Ionian Sea.
As committed citizens, we can support environmental organizations such as the Tethys Research Institute, striving to promote marine conservation. These organizations often work on a shoestring budget and your donation can make a difference."
Giovanni Bearzi, Ph.D.
President, Tethys Research Institute
Pew Fellow in Marine Conservation
To engage the public's interest, understanding and support of marine conservation, Tethys offers Field Courses on dolphins and whales in the Mediterranean, giving the layperson first hand experience with these animals. Thank you for being interested and supportive.