Scientists have two months to collect as much information as possible and to raise awareness about the protection of the oceans.
Given that our oceans are less well known than space, it is crucial to develop knowledge of an environment that represents 70% of the planet. To this end, in collaboration with other international organisations, such as the CNRS, Les Explorations de Monaco left on 3 October for a two-month journey to the west of the Indian Ocean.
From Reunion Island to Mauritius via the Seychelles, the ship “S.A Agulhas II” and its 170-strong crew will travel 13,500km over two months. A total of 20 nationalities are involved in this expedition.
A little-known part of the oceans
The primary objective of the “Indian Ocean Mission” is to gather as much data and information as possible on the western Indian Ocean in order to convince the international community of the urgency of climate change and the need to create Marine Protected Areas (MPAs).
To this end, beacons from Monaco, France, the United States and Canada will be deployed at strategic points to gather information on the state of the ocean. For example, water temperature, salinity, pH and oxygen concentration are all information that will help us to understand the impact of climate change and overfishing.
In parallel, studies on corals, plankton and microplastics present in the ocean will be carried out throughout the voyage and even afterwards in the laboratories in Monaco.
A class of 20 students will also follow a beacon throughout its journey. Pupils took it in turns to sign their beacon. Visits to the ship are also organised during stopovers for classes on the islands. “We are not only doing science but we also have an educational programme. (…) An educational dimension to make them [the young people] informed citizens so that they can make decisions later on about protecting the ocean”, commented Hervé Claustre, director of research at the CNRS, to Monaco Info.
More info: Monaco Explorations