Pristine Seas

Helping maintain healthy fisheries and clean seas worldwide

The ocean—covering over 70 percent of the planet—sustains all life on Earth. It supplies more than half the oxygen we breathe and regulates the Earth’s climate. Its fisheries provide employment for 180 million people and food for billions worldwide, and it offers opportunities for recreation, education, and tourism. Here at Lindblad Expeditions-National Geographic, we believe in the importance of preserving the health of the world’s oceans. To that end, we are proud to support National Geographic’s Pristine Seas project, and have committed to donating at least $500,000 per year for five years (2014-2018) from the LEX-NG Fund to this effort.

Initiated by National Geographic Explorer-in Residence, Dr. Enric Sala, Pristine Seas seeks to find, survey, and help protect the last wild places in the ocean. A few areas of the ocean remain relatively unaltered by humans. These pristine places are key to the health of the global ocean ecosystem. Pristine Seas works to inspire governments around the world to create protected areas in these remote places in order to conserve and restore the richness of marine life and habitat.

Pristine Seas in Europe

Being the brainchild of Dr. Enric Sala who grew up in the Mediterranean and saw first-hand the negative changes taking place, Pristine Seas has grown from a young child’s passion to improve local waters into a global effort of governments to safeguard the world’s ocean. In his lifetime, Dr. Sala has witnessed successful conservation efforts in the Mediterranean such as the creation of the Scandola Nature Reserve off the coast of Corsica, France.

Elsewhere in Europe, the Pristine Seas team set out to explore Portugal’s Selvagens Islands in the North Atlantic in September of 2015, conducting among the first surveys of the islands’ underwater ecosystems—from shallow to deep—and filming the biodiversity around the islands. In recognition of their importance as a nesting point for numerous species of birds, the Selvagens Islands were designated as a natural reserve in 1971. However, little was known about the pelagic environment around these islands.

While on this expedition, the Pristine Seas team used scuba, baited stereo cameras, and National Geographic drop cameras to conduct quantitative surveys of shallow flora and fauna, pelagic communities, and deep-sea habitats, respectively. Through their investigations, they found that the pelagic environment is rich in marine species, including Bryde’s whales and loggerhead turtles. Fish biomass is also high for the region, with 51 fish species recorded on the Pristine Seas scientists’ transects. Thanks to this expedition, scientists have learned more about the ocean surrounding this important natural reserve.

The Lindblad Expeditions-National Geographic (LEX-NG) Fund aims to protect the last wild places in the ocean while facilitating conservation, research, education, and community development programs in the places we explore. If you would like to learn more about projects supported by the LEX-NG Fund worldwide, please contact the Fund by email. To support our work by making a contribution to the LEX-NG Fund, click here.

Get our newsletter

Join us for updates, insider reports & special offers.

Privacy Policy