Blancpain is setting sail this week with ocean conservation organization Oceana on a mission to explore some of the richest marine areas of the Gulf of Mexico to document the health of their biodiversity and investigate reefs that, due to their distance from the coast, remain almost untouched from the effects of human activities.
For 15 days, the expedition will travel through Arrecife Alacranes National Park, expecting to chart at least 136 species of fish, 34 species of coral, various dolphin species, and commercially valuable marine animals, such as queen conch and grouper, live in the area the Project Alacranes expedition will explore.
Blancpain is supporting the expedition and a multi-year partnership with Oceanea as part of its Blancpain Ocean Commitment that has co-financed 20 major scientific expeditions around the world.
“Blancpain has had an incredibly close relationship with the ocean since the early 1950s, when we released the Fifty Fathoms, the first modern diving watch. With the Blancpain Ocean Commitment, our aim is to raise awareness of the importance of the oceans for human life, and to contribute to their protection. To do so, we center our initiatives on three axes: beauty, to show people what the underwater world has to offer and arouse their interest; knowledge, to learn about the areas that need attention; and protection, to ensure efficient ocean conservation,” says Marc A. Hayek, Blancpain president & CEO.
“We are proud to be part of Project Alacranes, which meets all three of these criteria, and have faith in Oceana’s strength in exploration, scientific research and advocacy to make a difference towards Mexico’s biodiversity, the local populations, and ultimately the world,” he adds.
Between August 9 and 23, Project Alacranes will see 10 scientists explore the Arrecife Alacranes National Park area and do environmental DNA analysis and photomosaic modeling, which will be used to create 3D maps of the reefs and enable a census of the species that inhabit them or use this area as part of their migratory routes.
The use of a sonar called “Fish Hunter PRO” will provide information on the schools of fish, making it possible to establish parameters for monitoring fish stocks of commercial interest, and to create guidelines for the sustainable management of fishery resources.
“Our objective is to collect scientific information that allows us to determine the current status of this Marine Protected Area, and to use this information to promote the changes needed to protect and guarantee the future of this important ecosystem,” said Renata Terrazas, executive director of Oceana in Mexico.