Pelagos, the golden triangle of the Mediterranean

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An immersion in Miraceti's EXPLORE mission, to meet the giants


© Sébastien Personnic & Denis Ody / WWF

Like many marine species, cetaceans are heavily impacted by human activity. Fishing, noise pollution, collisions... there are many threats to these giants of the seas, particularly near the coast. In the Mediterranean, the Pelagos sanctuary guarantees them a protected area covering 87,500 km2 between France, Corsica and Italy. From September 29 to October 20, 2023, the Miraceti association and the 1 OCEAN Foundation will jointly organize the Explore Pelagos mission, an exploration and awareness-raising mission within the sanctuary.

Pelagos, the sanctuary of giants

While the Mediterranean is known for its large cetacean populations, one region in particular boasts an exceptional density of sperm whales, dolphins, pilot whales and fin whales, the second largest animal in the world. Comprising southern France, Corsica and Liguria, this region became the Pelagos sanctuary in 1999. 

Created on the basis of a joint agreement between France, Italy and Monaco, this 87,500 km2 area aims to protect cetaceans while taking into account social, economic and cultural issues. For example, the sanctuary is working to improve fishing methods in order to reduce the number of accidental catches. It is also working to reduce cetacean collisions with boats, and to draw up guides to good conduct during whale-watching sessions.

Protection at the service of biodiversity

The case of the humpback whale in the South Atlantic is a perfect example of the ability of protected cetacean populations to recover. From 27,000 to 450 individuals in the space of a century of human exploitation, humpback whales had recovered 93% of their numbers by 2020, reaching 25,000 individuals. 

Since the inauguration of Pelagos, several scientific monitoring and reconnaissance projects have been launched to document the evolution of cetacean populations and the effects of measures taken within the sanctuary. Created in 2020, the Miraceti association is carrying out a number of missions aimed at improving knowledge and contributing to the preservation of marine mammals. 

Explore Pelagos, a mission of exploration and awareness

In 2023, the 1 OCEAN Foundation and Miraceti are launching the Explore Pelagos project, a mission to understand and protect cetaceans in the heart of the Pelagos sanctuary. The project will enable us to continue collecting data on the populations living in the sanctuary, and to observe the impacts of human activities, as well as the measures and actions implemented for conservation. 

On September 29, 2023, the Explore Pelagos scientific expedition will leave the port of Monaco and head out to sea, calling at Genoa and Bastia before finishing its journey in Hyères on October 20. Each stopover will be accompanied by exhibitions and events designed to raise public awareness. The Explore Pelagos adventure will be accessible to all through the regular publication of content on the various 1 OCEAN Foundation media.

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