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 sister 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.
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.
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 per cent of the world's ocean under effective protection by 2030 and the other 70 per cent managed in a responsible way.
The ocean is the world's largest carbon sink. By combatting 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.
Our partnership supports seven projects which span the globe, from the Mediterranean to the Caribbean, 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'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.
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 impact such as pollution and boat disturbance. 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.
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.
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 the previously abundant marine life.
Indonesia, accounting for 20 per cent 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 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.
Between 1970 and 2015, the Philippines lost 40 per cent of its mangroves, a vital blue carbon habitat that supports an abundance of species such as mudskippers, grouper, 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 seek to repair water flows and plant trees to stabilize sediment, letting nature oversee most of the restoration.
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.