In mid-April, the Lagoon 570 catamaran LOVE THE OCEAN, currently moored at the Pontoon K of the Pôle Nautisme Mer & Développement (Nautismed) in Port Saint Louis du Rhône, will set sail for the South-East of the western Mediterranean for a short OceanoScientific Expedition Coral Reefs Tunisia 2024 in the Kerkennah Islands archipelago, near the coastal town of Sfax, then on to Bizerte, before heading to Marseille.

The vessel set out from Monaco before Christmas at the start of its mission.

This will be an opportunity to carry out joint initiatives with the foundation La Saison Bleue, chaired by Rym Benzina Bourguiba, who is also Patron, along with Theresa Zabell (Spain), of LOVE THE OCEAN. The choice of the Kerkennah – an important bird conservation sanctuary – was dictated by the fact that it is renowned for its historical importance in the production of commercial sponges. Nearly 150 species of sponge have been identified in Tunisia, five of which are commercialised. Sponge fishing on this site is thought to date back to 202 AD. Fishing was carried out on foot or by snorkeling in waters often less than three metres deep. But the resource has declined drastically due to overfishing, pollution and rising sea water temperatures. The aim is to recreate the right conditions for the sponge resource to develop once again… 

This navigation of around 1,300 nautical miles (2,400 km) at sea will be an opportunity to carry out a phase of offshore navigation tests on the OCEANO VOX box, designed and developed by Antoine Cousot as part of the “Citizen into Science” project supported by the PURE OCEAN Foundation in collaboration with Ifremer, on the initiative of Lucie Cocquempot.

FILE PHOTO: Love the Ocean leaving Monaco Yacht Club in December