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Blue Marine Foundation

Blue Marine Foundation

As part of our commitment to climate and nature action, we’ve joined our sister companies across the Travelopia Group* to partner with Blue Marine Foundation. 

Our objective is to help conserve the stunning coastlines and marine life that enrich your holidays and restore ocean ecosystems that are vital in tackling climate change. 

Together with our fellow travel companies, we intend to donate at least £1 million over the next 3 years, with the aim of supporting  the conservation and restoration of 7,000 hectares of vital marine ecosystems through seven global projects. 

From the Mediterranean to the Caribbean, Kenya to Indonesia, these protected “blue carbon ecosystems” have the potential to remove and store thousands of tonnes of carbon every year. They will also help protect a rich diversity of coastal and underwater wildlife, including endangered species.  

Our support will also enable the training and employment of local communities in marine conservation, helping ensure these beautiful places are preserved for generations. 

*Sunsail is a member of the Travelopia group of travel companies which has come together to partner with Blue Marine Foundation. 

Who are Blue Marine Foundation?

Blue Marine Foundation is an organisation dedicated to restoring the ocean to health by protecting and restoring marine life. Its mission is to see at least 30 percent of the world’s oceans under effective protection by 2030 and the other 70 percent managed in a responsible way. 

The ocean is the world’s largest carbon sink. By combating overfishing, establishing Marine Protected Areas, restoring depleted marine habitats, and engaging local communities in marine conservation, Blue Marine seeks to ensure the ocean can continue its vital function of stabilising the Earth’s climate. To date, Blue Marine has contributed to the protection of over four million square kilometres of the ocean. Find out more here

Credit: Blue Marine Foundation | Ocean Image Bank
Gallery: Cinzia Osele Bismarck, Matt Curnock, Liam McGuire, Tom Vierus, David P Robinson, Cameron Venti, Matt Curnock, Erik Lukas, Alex Mustard

How can you get involved? 

Add an optional donation of £2 per person to your next Sunsail yacht charter.

Donations go directly to The Blue Marine Foundation and will be used to support all areas of their incredible work. No matter how big or small, all donations are valuable.

Together with our fellow travel companies, we intend to donate at least £1 million over the next 3 years, with an aim to support the conservation and restoration of 7,000 hectares of vital marine ecosystems through seven global projects.

Your vital support will contribute to Blue Marine’s mission to protect 30% of the world’s oceans by 2030. Help us protect our ocean by making a donation. 

Your donations will support seven projects that span the globe:

What work are we supporting? 

Our partnership supports seven projects that span the globe, from the Mediterranean to the Caribbean to Kenya to Indonesia. Through a combination of conservation, ecosystem restoration, research, and community engagement, each project seeks to address the climate and biodiversity crisis in different ways, empowering and engaging local communities: 

Greece – A blue carbon approach to saving Greek seas 

Greece’s Posidonia seagrass faces threats from anchoring, pollution, and other human interventions. In order to inform the proper protection of vital and ancient seagrass habitat, Blue Marine is working to provide a comprehensive assessment of the carbon removal and storage potential within Posidonia beds. Employing advanced hyperspectral cameras in collaboration with our partners, this project aims to generate advanced data to understand the climate implications of this vibrant ecosystem and enhance knowledge to help secure future climate-smart marine protected areas (MPAs) across the Mediterranean.  

Blue Marine Foundation
Credit: Katerina Katopis | Ocean Image Bank

Project Overview 

Greece has experienced significant loss of its Posidonia seagrass due to anchoring, pollution, and other human disturbance. Posidonia sequesters significant quantities of CO2 as it grows, protects coastlines from erosion, and provides a nursery for juvenile fish. The Greek coastline exceeds 15,000km and is characterised by carbon-rich Posidonia seagrass and algal meadows, dropping off into deeper waters where fragile corals feed in the productive water currents. But in the context of the heavily overfished Mediterranean, Greek waters have had one of the highest habitat and biodiversity declines due to human pressures. Blue Marine and its partners are initiating the first no-take marine protected areas in Greece.  

In the first year of this project, we will be conducting a baseline assessment of the carbon stocks, carbon sequestration rates, and storage of the Posidonia beds within potential marine protected areas. Our goal is to enhance our understanding of Posidonia meadow distribution and coverage through accurate mapping, evaluate their blue carbon potential, and conduct biodiversity surveys and health assessments. This will help us ensure that future protected areas offer sufficient protection to these vital Posidonia meadows. 

Local Partners

The Ionian Environment Foundation, The Cyclades Preservation Fund, The Thalassa Foundation, TETHYS Research Institute, iSea and PlanBlue. 

The Caribbean – Restoring blue carbon habitats and protecting unique marine ecosystems  

A mosaic of rich marine habitats, the Dutch Caribbean is home to an incredible host of marine species, such as hawksbill turtles, colourful parrotfish, and sharks. To help protect them, the island of Aruba seeks to introduce a round-island marine protected area (MPA), to restore and protect its mangrove and seagrass habitat and create a “living lab”-  a space to demonstrate various restoration practices and teach tourists about the work taking place on the island. On the island of Bonaire, mangrove forests are declining due to erosion. To tackle this, the Mangrove Maniacs, a volunteer group, are successfully re-opening mangrove channels to restore the waterflow, which in turn restores oxygen levels and brings back previously abundant marine life.  

Blue Marine Foundation
Credit: Katerina Katopis | Ocean Image Bank

Project Overview 

Year 1 of this project will concentrate on mangrove restoration and channel excavation in Aruba and Bonaire. Additionally, we will be focusing on seagrass protection across four sites in marine protected areas (MPAs) in Mangel Halto, as well as developing signage for these MPAs in Aruba.  

The mangrove forest in Lac Bay, Bonaire, is in decline, mainly due to siltation caused by erosion. This is causing mangroves to die due to reduced oxygen and increased salinity. Our local partners, the Mangrove Maniacs, are working to open channels to restore the waterflow and improve conditions for the mangroves and other wildlife. This is important work to allow the mangroves to recover naturally and ensure increased rates of survival for planted seedlings.  

Similar work is beginning to take place in Aruba in the Mangel Halto MPA, where work is needed to prevent encroachment and habitat degradation before mangroves can be replanted in the area. In the same MPA, seagrass is being damaged by increased anchoring, and during this pilot phase, we will be sectioning off four areas to establish no-trampling zones to give the seagrass a chance to recover. The first year will focus on the design, production, and placement of signage at four MPAs (12-15 signs in total). This will help raise awareness and ensure the effectiveness of the protection. 

Local Partners:  

Fundacion Park National Aruba (FPNA) and Mangrove Maniacs. 

Indonesia – Community-led restoration of Indonesia’s extraordinary blue forests  

Indonesia, accounting for 20 percent of the world’s mangrove cover, has witnessed significant loss since the 1980s due to shrimp farming and coastal developments. In collaboration with local NGOs, Blue Marine’s work in Indonesia seeks to restore thousands of hectares of mangrove habitat, including 90 hectares of degraded aquaculture ponds in Lombok Island. Blue Marine will bring specialist technical knowledge to local NGO partners to set up a new project to support the restoration of mangrove ecosystems as well as delivering community education, monitoring, and protection. Community members, local government officials, and local NGO representatives will be trained in world-leading community-based ecological mangrove restoration techniques by the Indonesian NGO, Blue Forests. A detailed engineering design will be developed and followed by a project manager and project coordinator, employing community members in restoration activities. The site will be developed as a mangrove eco-tourism destination centre to provide the community with alternative sustainable livelihoods. 

Blue Marine Foundation
Credit: Erik Lukas | Ocean Image Bank
Philippines – Restoring abandoned aquaculture ponds to productive mangrove forests  

Between 1970 and 2015, the Philippines lost 40 percent of its mangroves, a vital blue carbon habitat that supports an abundance of species such as mudskippers, groupers, and the ancient horse shore crab (considered ‘living fossils’ as they’ve existed unchanged for over 400 million years). To address this, Blue Marine’s partner, Oceanus Conservation, has undertaken significant work to restore these blue forests, with over 8,000 seedlings planted in previously degraded areas. Their next target is a 10-hectare site in the country’s south, repurposing an abandoned shrimp farming site. By using a method that works with nature, Blue Marine seeks to repair water flows and plant trees to stabilise sediment, letting nature oversee most of the restoration. 

Blue Marine Foundation
Credit: Gregory Piper | Ocean Image Bank
Formentera, Spain – Safeguarding the future of ancient seagrass meadows 

Formentera’s seagrass meadows are believed to date back over 100,000 years, making them one of the oldest living things on the planet today. Unfortunately, they are under extreme threat from human impacts such as pollution and boat disturbances. In collaboration with Blue Marine’s local partners, Blue Marine is working to implement a citizen-driven initiative of “Posidonia Planting”, which seeks to plant a minimum of 3,000 seeds/fragments annually, bridging the gaps in seagrass coverage and fortifying restoration success. 

Blue Marine Foundation
Credit: Liam McGuire | Ocean Image Bank
Kenya - Restoring Mida-Creek’s mangrove forests  

Mida Creek is home to an array of wonderful marine life, including a resident population of Indo-Pacific dolphins, providing critical sea turtle habitat and nesting areas, and a nursing ground for Humpback Whales. The Mida Creek project was started by Sustainable Surf and COBEC in 2020 during the pandemic, which left many people without work as the local economy relies on tourism. In the Watamu region of Kenya mangrove trees have been illegally harvested for lumber and charcoal production due to local economic pressures. COBEC works with local villages to replant mangroves in deforested areas. The communities are educated about the environmental and economic importance of these ecosystems and employed to grow seedlings, collect mangrove propagules, plant mangroves, and monitor the growth of the trees.

The Maldives – Restoring mangroves and seagrass for climate mitigation and resilience

The marine and coastal environments of the Maldives are essential for its very existence as a low-laying island nation yet are under increasing threat from habitat degradation and rising sea levels. Building on Blue Marine’s extensive experience in the Maldives, this project seeks to understand the historical causes of mangrove loss, to inform both active and natural mangrove restoration over the coming years. Meanwhile, the project will also focus on enhancing tourist engagement and education, local restoration training and furthering seagrass protection across the island’s resorts.  

Blue Marine Foundation
Credit: David P Robinson | Ocean Image Bank

The Sea We Breathe


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