KAI Challenge: swimming 120 kilometres in Costa Brava for its environmental protection
During the summer of 2022, a team of swimmers will swim the whole Costa Brava (120 kilometres) to raise funds for the sustainability project “Stop ghost fishing”, through the KAI project. This is a new action line created by the Swimming Club Radikal Swim, willing to support local initiatives that try to deal with the global problems that threaten the seas, oceans and rivers, completing serious challenges by swimming the sea as a catalyser for change.
The launch of the KAI project will start with the challenge of non-stop swimming the 120 kilometres of the littoral of Costa Brava. The challenge will be conducted by the swimming team of Radikal Swim, led by the swimmer Gerard Alemany, who will swim an estimated distance of 115-120 kilometres non-stop without leaving the water. This is estimated to take 40 hours and some of the main difficulties in this challenge can be the jellyfish banks, or swimming a whole night, the continuous exposure to the high salinity ─which can cause an inflammation of soft areas and respiratory tracks─, mental preparation and the variability of the wind and wave conditions in the Costa Brava.
This challenge will bring together institutions, companies, firms and people committed to the environmental health of the ocean, such as the Provincial Council of Girona, the network of towns of Costa Brava and local communities, the Directorate-General for Maritime Affairs and Fisheries, the Catalan Federation of Swimming, the University of Barcelona and the Biodiversity Research Institute (IRBio) of the UB. The final objective is to tackle together the problems that affect the sea in Costa Brava in order to be seen as a role model on sustainability and support the UB project “Avoid ghost fishing” in the environmental protection task regarding the seafloors of Costa Brava.
Objective: raising 50,000€ to stop ghost fishing in Costa Brava
The goal of this challenge goes beyond sports, since it aims to mitigate the urgent problem caused by ghost fishing, raising funds for the UB project “Stop ghost fishing” and reducing the impact on more than 70 benthic species, including a great amount of fish and crustaceans and sessile species with an important ecological and structural role (gorgonians, red coral, sponges, bryozoans, arborescent algae).
With the raised funds, the 50,000€ will serve to fund the use of a remotely operated vehicle (ROV), which will be decisive to improve the efficiency of the project to reduce the time of diving and increasing the surface of prospection. In addition, the exact location of the lost fishing gears via ROV will enable the divers to conduct extractions in a more efficient and a safer manner. Thanks to its implementation, they will double the number of extracted lost fishing gears per year (50 per year). More information on the campaign to raise funds in the website
“Avoid ghost fishing”: a project to protect the marine environment
The project “Avoid ghost fishing” is an initiative to reduce the impact of abandoned fishing gears ─deadly traps for the biodiversity─ in the seafloors of Catalonia. The project is coordinated at a scientific level by Bernat Hereu, lecturer at the Faculty of Biology and the Biodiversity Research Institute (IRBio) of the University of Barcelona, and launched by the Directorate-General of Maritime Affairs and Sustainable Fisheries of the Catalan Government.
“Ghost fishing is a common phenomenon in the coast, and it causes an effect of constant fishing in the marine life. This ghost fishing can linger for two weeks ─even years─ and can affect the protected species such as the red coral”, notes Hereu, lecturer at the Department of Evolutionary Biology, Ecology and Environmental Sciences of the UB. I
n this fight against the effects of the abandoned fishing gears in the marine environment, the collaboration of fishermen is decisive ─specially for those artisanal fishermen who collaborated actively in the detection and extraction of lost fishing gears. Therefore, they have recovered more than 130 abandoned fishing gears in the Catalan coasts and have prevented their impact on the marine biodiversity and seafloors.
KAI project, with farsightedness
Radikal Swim’s will is to continue adding more challenges through KAI in other areas to support local projects focused on solving the impact of global stress factors in the ocean. Parallelly, it is expected to develop awareness among the community of sea and open water swim lovers, the collaboration with companies and institutions with sustainability and development values and I&D support with research centres, and other collaborations in favour of the ocean protection.