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Song and sword leads the geopolitical mission of oceanographers and scientists to gather information about the impact of ocean pollution on the coral reefs of The Bahamas. The Living Oceans Foundation opened its Global Reef Expedition in Freeport, Bahamas to be in the Cay Sal Bank from April 26 to May 18 and will sail across the globe, studying the health of coral reef environments for the next five years.
“It is not always clear to the casual observer that ocean health is in serious trouble. But it is. If we do not take aggressive steps to care for our ocean now, our inaction will have dire consequences for the future,” said Saudi Arabia Prince Khaled bin Sultan, founder and chairman of the Living Oceans Foundation.
“Our children and grandchildren will certainly suffer the consequences. Over the past 50 years, 20 percent of coral reefs worldwide have died. It is conceivable that over the course of one human lifetime more than half of coral reefs worldwide will no longer exist.”
Prior to April 26, researchers conducted aerial surveys and sonar reconnaissance of Cay Sal Bank in The Bahamas and decided it will begin the first expedition there. The Foundation has 10 years experience and its strength is in its multi-disciplinary network of marine scientists, a state of the art research ship, the M/Y Golden Shadow. Team and technology are joined in the dedication to applied science and leveraging technology for rapid ecological assessments.
“The good news is that it is not too late to reverse the decline in ocean health,” said Prince Khaled.
“We must raise public awareness about the coral reef crisis and educate people about the solutions.”
The Expedition’s results will assist decision-makers in identifying high priority conservation sites that require ecological protection. Strategies to improve stressful reef conditions by reversing human impacts, preserving biodiversity, health, heritage, and social and economic value of these precious ocean resources.
“Eighty (80) percent of all life on earth is found in the oceans and the health of the coral reefs are critical to the health of many species that inhabit the oceans,” said Captain Phil Renaud, USN (ret), executive director of the Khaled bin Sultan Living Oceans Foundation.
After May 18, the expedition will travel to the southernmost district to study the Hogsty Reef and other areas off the Inagua Islands in August, and then on to Andros and Abaco in October. In between research in The Bahamas, they will spend 10 days studying reefs in St. Kitts and Nevis during the month of June.
The Khaled bin Sultan Living Oceans Foundation was established in September 2000 in the United States as a public benefit, non-profit organisation dedicated to conserving and restoring living oceans through research, education, and a commitment to Science Without Borders, the Living Oceans Foundation trademark programme. Countries are encouraged to submit invitations and proposals to conduct a collaboration of coral reef research with the Global Reef Expedition in the oceans throughout the Atlantic, Pacific, Indian Ocean and the Red Sea.