small text size medium text size large text size print this article mail this article  

Inspiring mariners to go for the environmental challenge

29 October 2016

The Biological Conservation Research Group (BICREF) inspire participating crew members of the Rolex Middle Sea Race to take accurate records of all their dolphin and whale sightings during this 608 NM long race. Starting from Malta, all participants go round Sicily, down to Lampedusa and back to Malta. All these silent sailing travellers are not ignored by the different marine mammals in these waters who often join the race and lead the boats bringing joy, enthusiasm and energy at any time of day and night and in rough or calm seas.

In collaboration with the Royal Malta Yacht Club, BICREF set out on this incredibly positive experience with yachtmen, coming from all over the world, back in 2000 and has managed to sustain this effort through the years, receiving complements for the project and determination in the work undertaken.

The 2016 winner of the increasingly prestigious BICREF–RMSR Best Dolphin and Whale Sightings Award goes to the crew of the Benemedo, with the crew of Unica as runners up.

BICREF ngo has been assisting the conservation biologist, Adriana Vella, PhD (Cambridge) in her long-term research campaigns involving most sea-users to contribute in what has become a well-known national effort in awareness and science for these vulnerable species. Dolphin and whales in Maltese waters and beyond stand as flagship species for marine conservation. Though Dr. Vella’s research encompasses various other species and habitats needing protection, she has worked to involve interested people in various ways to increase fruitful participation and learning in the process. Infact, BICREF supplied all RMSR participants with an identification key to allow them to learn about the different dolphin and whale species that may be encountered in the central Mediterranean region.

The photo shows the endangered Mediterranean common dolphins, Delphinus delphis taken by the crew members of Benemedo.

Earlier this year BICREF was one of the organisers of the 1st international workshop on this species which was held in Ischia, Italy. This workshop brought together experts and researchers from all around the Mediterranean to see how this species may be saved through detailed research and timely management.

For further information on BICREF’s work and on cetacean research in Maltese waters contact: or Dr. Adriana Vella, Ph.D on

BICREF-REMS trophy 2016 awared to Benemedo