Mediterranean Whale Highway


Spain’s Environment Ministry plans to create a whale highway to protect whales, dolphins, tunas, sharks, sea turtles and so many other species that require help along its Mediterranean coast.

Spain’s goal is to establish a special passage through Europe’s largest sea and provide a refuge for whales and dolphins from the scourge of oil drilling and deadly seismic airgun testing.

Located on Spain’s eastern coast between Balearics and Catalonia, the route will be designated “Specially Protected Zone of Mediterranean Importance” by the Barcelona Convention for the Protection of the Mediterranean. It’s a crucial international convention intended to mitigate pollution levels in the sea.

The proposed whale highway will ban seismic airgun exploration as well as oil and gas drilling and extraction.

Let me tell you why seismic airguns are deadly for whales and dolphins. Every 10 seconds — non-stop for a couple months — airguns explode under the sea as Big Oil scourers the seabed for more climate-altering, subsidized fossil fuels.

Those explosions are 8 times louder than a jet engine and they deafen whales; a deaf whale is a dead whale.

The Mediterranean Sea is home to fin whales, the second largest creatures on the globe next to blue whales. It is important habitat for deep-diving sperm and Cuvier’s beaked whales. Those two species possess special oxygen-binding proteins in their muscles that are helping doctors develop synthetic blood used for emergency transfusions.  Whales hold the key to saving trauma patients’ lives.

Other whales and dolphins in the Mediterranean include long-finned pilot whales and Risso’s, striped, short-beaked, and bottlenose dolphins. Bottlenoses hold the record for the longest non-human memory at well over 20 years.

Did you know that each year over 500 million metric tons of sewage, oil, phosphates, mercury, lead, flame retardants, insecticides and other deadly poisons are dumped into the Mediterranean Sea?

Ladies and gentlemen, what we do to the seas, soils, groundwater, rivers, lakes and atmosphere we do to ourselves.

Thank you Spain for providing decisive leadership to protect the doctors of the sea — the whales and dolphins.

Love is the solution. 

Earth Dr Reese Halter is the author of “Shepherding the Sea: The Race to Save Our Oceans.”