Ace swimmer Lewis Pugh swims seven seas to raise awareness

The initiative is to campaign for dedicated Marine Protected Areas across the world

By Vani Manocha
Published: Friday 05 September 2014


Renowned ocean swimmer Lewis Pugh, one of the patrons of the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) for oceans, has become the first person to swim across seven seas. He has done this to raise awareness and draw attention of public and policy makers about the importance of creating dedicated Marine Protected Areas (MPA).

Under the campaign called “Seven Swims in the Seven Seas for One Reason”, the swimmer has undertaken long distance swims in each of the Seven Seas—The Mediterranean, Adriatic, Aegean, Black, Red, Arabian and North Sea. “"The seven seas are some of the most at risk waters in the world," says UNEP in a press release.

The United Nations is urging all nations to set aside at least 10 per cent of their waters as a network of well-managed and well-designed Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) by 2020. In addition, the Convention on Biological Diversity works specifically to promote the recovery of marine and coastal biodiversity and fisheries resources, and to control land-based sources of pollution. 

"The North, Aegean and Mediterranean Seas have been drastically overfished. Many coral reefs are in decline - through habitat destruction in the Red and severe bleaching in the Arabian Sea. The Black Sea is dreadfully polluted. And the rich wetlands of the Adriatic no longer provide a safe haven for thousands of migrating birds," says Pugh.

The ace swimmer is a leading figure in global efforts to protect the world's oceans. Over a period of 27 years, he has pioneered swims in the most hostile waters on Earth. In 2007 his swim across an open patch of sea at the North Pole to highlight the melting of the Arctic Sea was global news, as was his 2010 swim across a newly formed glacial lake on Mount Everest, which drew significant attention to the impact of climate change on the Himalayas.


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