Asociación Ondine based in the Balearic Islands is a voluntary organisation of passionately committed individuals, who together are making huge strides towards improving the health of the Mediterranean sea, specifically in their local vicinity.
Ondine’s founder and president, Australian diver and dive instructor Brad Robertson, has been a resident of Mallorca for several years, he is married to Bea Esparza, a Spanish girl, and is raising a family on the island.
“We are all about turning awareness into action” says Brad. “We are pushing boundaries with government, businesses and the multitude of communities that co-exist across the Balearic Islands. We are constantly raising awareness of the problem which is unfolding before our eyes; but most importantly, we are continuously educating, implementing and actively participating in the process of delivering tangible solutions.”
The ocean sustainability challenge in the Balearics.
We can’t do better than to quote the words used by Brad Robertson in the introduction to the 2017 report on the activities of his organisation.
‘Every visitor, resident, and descendent of the Balearic Islands is leaving a footprint on the natural habitat surrounding this once pristine archipelago. If we don’t start changing the impact of that footprint, our children’s children won’t have a sea that is safe to swim in. Visitors will stop coming. Jobs will dry up. Marine life will vanish!’
‘We don’t want Asociación Ondine to be the answer. We want to inspire the solution. Nothing is going to change if we don’t change our ways. And the only way we can do that is through the commitment of each one of us: that we will all play a part.’‘We are empowering teachers, students and parents to think differently. We are training likeminded individuals to spread the word. We are inspiring the local community to get involved.’
‘We are cleaning up the damage we have already done. We are implementing long-term sustainable solutions. We are collaborating and building partnerships. We are grassroots but thinking big.’
The work that Asociación Ondine is doing, is measurable, sustainable, and most importantly… achievable. In 2017 alone they have removed 2.2 tons of rubbish from the beaches, and 600m of ghost fishing nets from the seas. 870 volunteers are inspiring others to get involved in practical hands-on activities like beach clean-ups. 350 local children are working on how they can change their plastic consumption. They are also educating, encouraging and supporting local businesses to change their ways, and to increase their brand value as a result.
Yachting and ocean sustainability… inextricably linked!
It’s also worth pointing out that Palma de Mallorca is one of the most prominent yachting centres in the world. The city has a vibrant and ever-expanding superyacht sector, it hosts some of the sailing world’s premier regattas, and an ever-expanding annual yacht show. It also supports a hugely popular yacht charter sector, and has a well-established, and comprehensive yacht repair, refit and maintenance infrastructure. So, this is not just about keeping beaches and swimming water clean for holiday makers, but it’s also about maintaining an entire industry for the future, with its substantial economic contribution, job creation and leisure enjoyment value.
The work that Asociación Ondine are doing is enthusiastically supported by many leisure marine businesses, and yacht crews that are based in Mallorca and around the Balearic Islands.
Protecting nature and marine life.
Other projects that Asociación Ondine have been actively involved in are contributing to the vitally interlinked eco infrastructure of the marine environment. These include a long-term survey of the breeding habits of Stingray fish, which are now commonly found in the Bay of Palma.
Brad’s team have also been cooperating in awareness programs about the protection of Posidonia weed (sometimes called Neptune grass), which has a vital role in marine ecosystems. It oxygenates water, protects the sea bed from erosion, creates habitats and provides protection for large amounts of marine fauna. It takes a long time to grow and reproduce, yet it’s highly exposed to human related activities such as water contamination and yacht anchoring.
More info about Asociación Ondine: www.asociacionondine.org