Prince Albert II of Monaco gave more than 50 cyclists a royal welcome at his palace on Tuesday after they completed more than 1500km cycling in aid of Blue Marine Foundation (BLUE) - the UK-based marine conservation charity. Created and arranged by super-yacht design company Winch Design, the ride aims to raise half a million pounds for BLUE, and was launched in London by pop legend and BLUE ambassador Simon Le Bon. Formula One personality and TV presenter, Eddie Jordan was one of the cyclists who made it over the finish line.
The money raised will help BLUE achieve its aim of protecting vast tracts of the world’s oceans. BLUE exists to combat over-fishing and the destruction of biodiversity – arguably the largest problem facing the world’s oceans – by creating large-scale marine reserves and developing models of sustainable fishing.
Prince Albert, who is the Founding Patron of the Blue Marine Yacht Club, said: “Oceans are more than ever at the heart of our common future. Although they are subjected to sustained pressures, they also offer infinite solutions and unparalleled opportunities, whether of an ecological or economic nature, energy or food related. Since 2012, my foundation and the Blue Marine Foundation have made an important unified commitment to help protect the world’s oceans, with a number of joint initiatives focused on the protection and management of the marine environment. The first London to Monaco Cycle Ride is therefore a wonderful opportunity to raise awareness on the necessity to protect our fragile oceans.”
Clare Brook, CEO of BLUE added: “Over the years, people have waded in mud, paddle boarded The Channel, and been photographed naked with fish to help us protect the oceans. Cycling from London to Monaco is the next exciting challenge and we are immensely grateful to all cyclists taking part for the real difference their efforts will make in saving our seas.”
Funds raised from the ride will go towards two specific projects that will contribute significantly to ocean protection. The first, in the Aeolian Islands north of Sicily, will address over-fishing and irresponsible tourism, and protect endangered marine species such as sperm whales and dolphins. The second is in the remote island of Ascension in the tropical Atlantic - home to extraordinary biodiversity including sharks, turtles and rare sea birds. Half of Ascension’s waters were closed to industrial fishing at the beginning of the year, but the Ascension islanders need to develop other sources of income on the island, particularly science and eco-tourism, so that more of the island’s waters (which cover an area nearly twice the size of the UK) can become a haven for the wonderful marine life to be found there.
To donate to BLUE and find out more about its vital conservation work, please visit: http://www.bluemarinefoundation.com/support-us/