At sea, life is different. An idyllic interlude in everyday life, we sail, rocked by the rising sun, passing by coastal landscapes, soaking in that unique atmosphere that can only be found once we leave the land.
These emblematic spaces, explored for the pleasure of our eyes and hearts, are such due to the myriad of animal and plant species they host. This delicate balance, formed since time immemorial by the dance of evolution, is the guarantee of the well-being felt during our outings at sea.
Have you perhaps already observed dolphins, fin whales, or even loggerhead turtles?
Maybe the luckiest among you had the favor of encountering oceanic devil rays gracefully gliding through our Mediterranean waters.
Rare and little-known, these cousins of the manta ray never stop fascinating and raising questions. At the beginning of summer, they seem to gather in a very specific area, north of the Mediterranean near the French coasts. Do they come here for reproduction purposes?
These marine life giants- measuring up to 3.5 meters wide- whose females only give birth every two to three years, are in danger of extinction. Movements, reproductive behaviors, and almost everything remain to be discovered about this fantastic-looking species.
Have you ever encountered the blue shark offshore?
The most hunted shark in the world for its fins is critically endangered in the Mediterranean. If you sail near the Gulf of Lion, you may have the chance to observe juveniles measuring less than one meter long, swimming in this gigantic open-water nursery! To protect these mighty but fragile predators, every recorded observation counts.
But maybe you enjoy diving or simply exploring the seabed near the anchorage?
Here, you have every chance of encountering benthic rays, those that glide along the seafloor. Do you know how to recognize the common stingray, the bull ray, or the eagle ray? The participatory science project DIRAIPO by AILERONS aims to identify the species of benthic rays present in the Cerbères-Banyuls Nature Reserve in the Eastern Pyrenees. During your anchorages in this beautiful area (check out the Navily app for that matter!), there is no doubt that you will be able to observe them!
A simple reflex to protect marine ecosystems
Sailors, you are privileged witnesses of marine ecosystems. Each and every one of you, with thousands of amazed eyes from your encounters, can act as the eyes of scientists and contribute to preserving these valuable species.
The ELASMED observatory collects your observations of rays, sharks, and chimeras in the French Mediterranean.
Led by local NGO AILERONS and supported by numerous organizations, ELASMED currently counts more than 4,000 citizen observation data collected from fishermen, divers, or sailors, and involves nearly 10 countries in the Mediterranean basin. The data collected allowed the publication of the first Atlas of Chondrichthyans in 2023, in collaboration with the National Museum of Natural History.
Submit your observation online in less than two minutes and combine leisure and contribution! Thank you for stepping in for marine species!
Submitting observations made easy
Visit the AILERONS website where you will find the online form. You will need to enter the observation location, species type, and name, number of individuals, some information about the observation context, and your contact information! You can also send your observation via email to firstname.lastname@example.org
Did you know that 50% of ray and shark species are threatened with extinction in the Mediterranean? Transmitting your opportunistic observations is a simple way to act for their protection!