OASIS – tracking the great pelagics of the Mediterranean

Satellite tracking of loggerhead turtles has been the key tool used by ALNITAK since 2002 to find potential mitigation measures for the risk of bycatch in fisheries. But juvenile and sub adult turtle movements and habitat use around the Balearic Islands have brought us to focus on a fascinating question regarding the role of drifting turtles in the open seas ecosystems, we call it the “Oasis Effect”.

Through the “OASIS PROGRAMME”, the Mediterranean serves the purpose of a miniature ocean laboratory to look closely at how the open seas function by tracking great pelagic species as sea turtles, cetaceans and blue fin tuna. With the collaboration of Stanford University – Tag a Giant, NOAA NMFS, IMEDEA, SOCIB, National Geographic Crittercam, I.O. Conserve, HYDRA, JDB Denmark, KAI Marine - USFWS and I.E.O., different methods of tracking are used to focus on the biological response to oceanographic conditions.

Integrating the tracking data with the ocean observation and forecasting platform SOCIB, our great pelagics now also serve a purpose as “oceanographers of opportunity”.

Completing the picture, ALNITAK brings in fishermen as yet another source of scientific data, through the European Fisheries Fund (FEP – Fundación Biodiversidad) project, “Fishermen, stewardship of the NATURA 2000 Network at Sea”. This project focuses on enhancing the positive role of fishermen in the framework of national and international strategies for sustainable development and conservation of marine biodiversity.