The top ocean conservation stories of 2018
by Zoe Dickens
The crisis facing the oceans became global news in 2018 thanks to the work of activists and environmental groups along with the hugely influential Blue Planet II. With many governments, non-profit organisations and brands springing into action to do their bit this year, here's what you need to know...
The Seychelles creates a new marine reserve
In February 2018 it was announced that Aldabra and Mahe in the Seychelles would form two new marine reserves spanning 74,000 square kilometres and 134,000 square kilometres respectively. The protected areas were formed by Leonardo DiCaprio-backed NGO The Nature Conservancy, which agreed to buy $22 million worth of discounted debt owed by the Seychelles to the UK, France, Belgium and Italy in exchange for the marine protected areas, as well as renegotiating the terms of the debt deals to free up another $12 million over the next 20 years to be invested in ocean conservation.
Hotels go plastic-free
With ‘single-use plastic’ being announced the word of the year and plastic bag restrictions coming in to force in multiple countries, big brands felt the pressure to reduce their plastic use in 2018. This resulted in a number of hotel groups, large and small, agreeing to cut back on plastic wherever possible. Edition Hotels announced it was 90% plastic free in March – with aims to use zero plastic by March 2019 – while Royalton Luxury Resorts, Eden Roc Cap Cana, Six Senses Yao Noi and Taj Exotica were among the hotels to implement a range of measures including the removal of plastic straws, placing reusable bottles in guest rooms and installing on-site water purification and bottling systems.
The inauguration of Ocean Talks
Boat International Media held its first Ocean Talks event at the National Geographical Society in London in June 2018. This highly successful symposium brought together leading ocean conservation researchers, activists and experts, along with prominent members of the superyacht industry, to discuss the future of our seas and what can be done to reverse the current crises facing them. Relive all the highlights from the event, including talks from Blue Planet II’s James Honeyborne, REV designer Espen Oeino and project director George Gill and a panel discussion on plastic pollution, by downloading the podcasts here.
Yachting companies show their support
With their entire existence relying on owners enjoying spending time at sea it makes sense that yachting brands would show their support for schemes and programmes to help protect the oceans. In March 2018 Princess Yachts became a key sponsor of the eXXpedition all-female plastic pollution research organisation while in May Moonen Yachts announced a new partnership with the Plastic Soup Foundation. MB92 and Compositeworks also joined forces to take part in this year’s London to Monaco cycle in aid of the Blue Marine Foundation while Y.CO, Fraser and Sunseeker all renewed long-standing ocean conservation commitments.
Luxury brands join the fray
Swiss fine watch brand Breguet sparked something of a movement when it announced its sponsorship of the Race for Water Odyssey voyage – including the unveiling of a limited edition Marine 5517 Race for Water timepiece – in March 2018. Throughout the year luxury brands, including Tumi, Stay Wild Swim, Everlane, Frangipani and Toms, announced a range of ocean conservation and low-plastic initiatives including collections made from recycled ocean plastic, fundraising schemes for environmental charities and the removal of single-use plastic from offices and supply chains. In October 2018 Breitling followed suit by announcing a new collaboration with sustainable fashion brand Outerknown resulting in the Superocean Heritage II Chronograph 44 Outerknown – the brand’s first watch to have a strap made from recycled fishing nets (pictured).