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TODAY: Chat With National Geographic Explorer Enric Sala

Do you ever wonder what it’s like to be a National Geographic Explorer? Here’s your chance to connect directly with someone who has ventured to unexplored areas, discovered previously unknown life forms, taken stunning photographs, and put it all to work to help protect some of the last wild places on Earth. From the Russian Arctic to…

Gabon Announces Protection of 23 Percent of Its Waters

The announcement by President Ali Bongo Ondimba of Gabon means that whales, sharks, turtles, rays, and countless other marine species in jeopardy from industrialization and overfishing will now have a blue haven on the West African coast.

A Massive New Marine Protected Area Network in Gabon

By John Robinson

The first day of the IUCN 2014 World Parks Congress marked a significant win for the oceans. The President Ali Bongo Ondimba of Gabon announced the decision to create a new marine protected area network of ten marine parks covering more than 18,000 square miles (over 46,000 square kilometres). The network – encompassing about 23 percent of Gabon’s territorial waters and EEZ (Exclusive Economic Zone) – will safeguard whales, sea turtles, and other marine species inhabiting the nation’s coastal and offshore ecosystems. As the President noted in his speech, this puts Gabon “near the 20 to 30 percent that marine biologists tell us is needed to maintain biodiversity and restore depleted areas outside parks.” This is a massive increase from the 1 percent of marine area currently protected by Gabon.

Enric Sala and Pristine Seas Receive EMA Heroes Award

“With six documentary films and counting, chronicling his essential work, Dr. Enric Sala is not only a true inspiration,” said Debbie Levin, President, Environmental Media Association, “he is educating and motivating us all on the intricacies of marine wildlife.”

Palau Expedition: Pristine Paradise

Pristine Paradise. Palau. It sounds like a mantra, which one cannot help but repeating after being there. We just finished a Pristine Seas expedition to Palau, invited by the government to explore, survey, and document the underwater world of this little island nation that is also a large ocean nation. Unlike other Pristine Seas expeditions—typically…

Wild Ocean Spaces

Today, with a sense of urgency and some impressive partners, the National Geographic Society’s Pristine Seas project begins a bold new effort to save the last wild places in the oceans.

Palau Expedition: The Good Side of Bad Weather

Expedition member Manu San Felix captures a dynamic photo that illustrates the chaotic beauty of the ocean world.

Palau Expedition: Millions of Jellyfish

Enric Sala visits the famous jellyfish lakes of Palau’s interior and learns why they are so sought-after.

Palau Expedition: Diving Palau’s Famous Blue Corner

Exploring a well-known diving hotspot gives the Pristine Seas team a sight of one creature they almost never encounter: the vacationing human.

Palau Expedition: The Future of the Past in Palau

Enric Sala and team are back in the big blue on their latest expedition to explore and document the world’s most pristine seas. This time, the destination is the Micronesian island group of Palau.

Pristine Seas: Southern Line Islands Set Bar for Healthy Reefs Everywhere

The waters around the southern Line Islands in the Pacific Ocean are home to some of the healthiest coral reefs in the world. The government of Kiribati recently declared a 12-nautical-mile fishing exclusion zone around each of the five islands, thanks in part to the efforts of National Geographic’s Pristine Seas initiative and Explorer-in-Residence Enric…

Overfishing Remains Biggest Threat to Mediterranean, Study Confirms

Marine Ecologist Enric Sala says a new study produced by a dozen researchers confirms that the Mediterranean is on a trajectory to become a sea dominated by small tropical species that no one likes to eat. “Fishes will not be abundant, and the native species that the Greeks and Romans started to fish commercially will be rare — and most fisheries and the jobs they support will collapse,” he says. But this could change “if we stop all the irrational overfishing,” Sala adds, “including both legal and illegal fishing, and protect a large chunk of the Mediterranean. Without these radical changes, we’re just going to reduce the Mediterranean Sea to a soup of microbes and jellyfish.”

Mozambique Expedition: A Giant Shrouded in Kelp

The Pristine Seas scientists explore a deep underwater kelp forest near Zavora Point in Mozambique, and are surprised by a giant-sized visitor during their surveys.

Mozambique Expedition: Bad Weather, Weird Parrot Fish

Bad weather puts the pressure on the team to get the day’s underwater surveys done, but there’s still time to relate a weird-but-true fact about where sand comes from.

Mozambique Expedition: Singing Fishermen, the Perfect Alarm Clock

Shortly after dawn a small fleet of local fishing dhows sailed close to our anchorage, and as the men brought in the nets their happy work song was the most perfect alarm clock and an ideal start to the expedition’s first day of diving.