Some more insights in to BICREF work
Surely as the first to assist scientific work undertaken both coastally and offshore around the Maltese Islands, the Biological Conservation Research Foundation (BICREF) has an important voice against local neglect or abuse of our marine and natural environment.
With valid projects such as the SCUBA/snorkel Biodiversity project initiated in 2002 and still ongoing this year in collaboration with dedicated SCUBA centres, greater awareness and biological knowledge of our coastal biodiversity is being achieved. Surely with more participation by increasing numbers of instructors and scuba schools this environmental awareness effort may involve both local and tourist divers and snorkelers year round. The more we know the different species in our natural environment the better we will manage to safeguard this intricate biological network for future generations.
Through the Ecotourism year (2002), BICREF with its Ecotourism Award by the Ministry of Finance allowed for the production of six documentaries “EcoMalta” which have been aired various times and in various channels and schools. BICREF members dedicated much time to the production of these documentaries so as to unravel the local natural beauty we should all be proud of and struggle to protect with every means possible. With the Vodafone Malta Foundation grant a new documentary is under way.
BICREF’s assistance to research undertaken even away from our coasts and focusing on the 25mile zone we call “conservation area” has allowed its members to see with their own eyes the wilderness and vulnerability of our seas. Breathtaking views of whales or dolphins side by side with floating garbage bags and fuel discharges reminding us humans can affect environments not seen by the public eye. Should far from sight be far from heart or responsibility? BICREF has worked toward increasing local and international awareness toward our need to appreciate all the life forms our Mediterranean Sea has in its cradle. Toward this goal, BICREF has involved all sea-users from fishermen to sailing racers. The strongest example of this is the Rolex Middle Sea Race project undertaken since 2000 with the collaboration of the Malta Royal Yacht Club (project launched through the sponsored by the Westin Dragonara Resort) in assisting conservation research undertaken in the Maltese Islands. A vital step forward toward better understanding the more difficult to study marine species, such as whales and dolphins, sea turtles, sharks, and Blue fin tuna.
Local awareness projects have also involved exhibitions and talks of organisms and biodiversity not often seen in our every day busy routines! The most fascinating of these being the one on “Dolphins in Maltese territorial waters” which have marveled many locals and tourist who believed our waters were deprived of such vulnerable species. Such projects are still at the heart of BICREF’s awareness work since experience has shown that more people see, the more they can appreciate in order to be able to want action for protection.
With the increasing environmental demands, scientific monitoring and accurate awareness will need to increase further. Toward this BICREF is determined to put more effort. This will be possible with help coming from the general public and the business/private sectors as well.
In a nutshell, for BICREF members, seahorses to dolphins are not only wonderful creatures that have been created to inspire us all to how immensely beautiful our blue planet is, but are indeed important parts of a dynamic network that sustains life around our coasts. As such they need to be allowed to survive to give their biological contribution.
Malta has signed numerous conventions and agreements that bind us and local authorities to take action toward effective conservation of our seas and the vulnerable species dwelling there. Scientific conservation research and accurate awareness is an important step toward allowing local authorities to take the long-lasting step for marine conservation areas and conservation management. BICREF has strongly been working toward this goal and looks forward in seeing such conservation areas, the ultimate human contribution to nature conservation, become reality.
This Cetacean Conservation Research Project has produced scientific results presented at local and international conferences. The accumulating and valuable scientific data may pave the way to more accurate local awareness and conservation management of legally protected species/habitats, such as dolphins and the sea life that sustains them.
Apart from the Cetacean Research Project, BICREF has expanded into other scientific research and conservation awareness projects included in this Website.