Lewis Pugh completes Black Sea Swim in Seven Seas Campaign
Renowned endurance swimmer and United Nation’s Environment Programme (UNEP)’s Patron of the Oceans, Lewis Pugh has today completed the fourth leg of his Seven Swims in the Seven Seas for 1 Reason campaign to highlight the need for, and importance of Marine Protected Areas on the global agenda.
Lewis completed his 10km swim off the coast of Sile, a town outside of Istanbul, Turkey in 2 hours 48 minutes.
Immediately afterwards Lewis said: “It was like a washing machine out there. Big waves and swell. Tough swimming conditions. I am very grateful to 5 Turkish swimmers who took turns to pace me over the 10km, and who share our vision for more Marine Protected Areas in this part of the world. Currently only 2.4% of Turkish water is set aside as a Marine Protected Area. I urge all the countries around the Black Sea to protect it more. It’s such a beautiful part of the world and a crucial ecosystem.”
Lewis will make his next journey to Aqaba, Jordan where he will undertake a 15km swim in the Red Sea.
The Red Sea is adorned with luscious coral reefs, sea-grass meadows and mangrove forests, and characterised by a dazzling array of fish, dolphins, turtles, corals and the enigmatic dugong.
Mangroves are of particular importance to both people and wildlife, and are the focus of Lewis’s Red Sea swim. With one foot on land, and one in the warm, shallow waters of the sea, mangroves stabilise coastal areas, support coral reef health, provide nursery grounds for young fish and other wildlife, timber for people, and food for domestic livestock.
Through his swim, Lewis calls for greater protection and restoration of mangroves in MPAs, particularly in Djibouti and Eritrea, where they are critically important.