Lewis Pugh completes Arabian Swim in 7 Seas Campaign
On 25th August in Rass Al Hadd, Oman, renowned endurance swimmer and United Nation’s Environment Programme (UNEP)’s Patron of the Oceans, Lewis Pugh, completed his sixth swim for his Seven Seas Campaign to put Marine Protected Areas on the global agenda.
On the penultimate leg of the campaign, Lewis swam 10km off the coast of Rass Al Hadd to raise awareness of the decline in coral reefs through severe bleaching. It took him three hours and 15 minutes in what he described as: “Literally one of the highlights of my life.”
Pugh continued: “In 27 years of swimming I have never seen so many turtles – over 300 Green Turtles. In some places the whole sea bed was covered in turtles. At the start of the swim there were turtles laying eggs. There were little turtles hatching and making their way into the sea. There were birds diving down and grabbing them. Fish darting in and out. And local artisan fisherman catching fish for their families.”
Lewis’s campaign will see him become the first person to undertake a long distance swim in each of the Seven Seas: the Mediterranean, Adriatic, Aegean, Black, Red, Arabian and North Sea. He arrives in the UK to make his seventh swim in the North Sea later this week.
These seas are amongst the most polluted and overfished in the world and Lewis Pugh’s campaign, Seven Swims in the Seven Seas for 1 Reason, will highlight the need for urgent action.
Spanning from East Africa to West India, this sea is home to an impressive range of beautiful, yet vulnerable, species and habitats.
The diverse and productive coral reefs of this sea have suffered severe coral bleaching – up to 80% in some areas – from global warming. This is set to intensify as sea temperatures rise with climate change. It’s a bleak outlook for coral reef habitats, and urgent action is needed to reduce climate change at a global level, combined with protection at the local level.
Well-managed MPAs can reduce stressors and may improve the ability of corals to withstand and recover from the temperature spikes that cause coral bleaching episodes.
Lewis’s swim in the Arabian Sea raises the call to action to protect and restore coral reefs, so that this delicate habitat might survive.