Aqua-Firma has become the Marine Megafauna Foundation's biggest sponsor of its Whale Shark Programme, through the company's Ocean Giant Expeditions which include many of MMF's research and conservation sites around the world. Expeditions include Whale Shark Research, Coral Reef and Photography experiences in Madagascar, Mexico and Mafia Island; Manta Ray Research, Coral Triangle and Dragons of Komodo; and new for 2019, a Shark Insights & Photography Dive liveaboard to the Galapagos Islands which will be hosted by Co-Founder of the Marine Megafauna Foundation (MMF), Dr Simon Pierce.
In discussion with the founders of Aqua-Firma, Ralph Pannell and Marine Scientist, Charlotte Caffrey: "Our oceans are in need of protection like never before," opened Charlotte, "so it is a great motivation to all of us that Aqua-Firma's Ocean Giant Expeditions support MMF research and conservation goals."
Continued Ralph, "The trips we run to MMF sites often feel like being inside a Blue Planet production, with an ever-sharpening picture of ocean giant behaviour, discovered through MMF'S armoury of satellite tags, DNA analysis, drones and inspiring research team dedicated to the cause."
From an MMF perspective explains Dr Simon Pierce: "Our research and conservation efforts focus on endangered marine species, such as whale sharks and manta rays, and protecting the ocean habitats necessary for their survival. We've been working with Aqua-Firma to host marine research experiences since 2013. Small groups of guests accompany us to our field sites, the world's best places to see these enigmatic giants.
"Hotspots for these animals are often located in developing countries, which struggle to fund the research and management work necessary to ensure population recovery in these endangered species. It's been great for us, as a non-profit research and conservation organisation, to partner with a responsible travel company in order to deliver a truly world-class ecotourism experience while providing sustainable financing for our work. Aqua-Firma has become our largest funder in 2019.
"Our partnership with Aqua-Firma provides us a fun way for us to share and support our work, while for our guests can learn about marine biology and underwater photography from our expert researchers. It's a fantastic way for us to support and promote best-practice ecotourism development in the countries where these initiatives are needed most."
Dr Simon Pierce taking an ID photo of a Whale Shark at Mafia Island, Tanzania
Mexico Whale Shark Research & Photography (July / August 2019 & 2020)
Galapagos Shark Insights & Photography (Aug 2019 & Sep 2021)
Komodo Manta Ray Research, Coral Triangle & Dragons (25 Oct - 3 Nov 2020)
Madagascar Whale Shark Research - Islands, Marine Life & Lemurs (Oct 2019 & 2020)
Tanzania Whale Shark Research, Coral Reefs & Photography (Nov 2019 & 2020)