Tethys Research Institute

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Founded in 1986, the Tethys Research Institute is a NGO specialised in cetacean research. Exclusively based on autonomous fundraising, Tethys has generated one of the largest datasets on Mediterranean cetaceans and about 250 scientific contributions. Tethys first conceived and proposed the creation of the Pelagos Sanctuary, based on extensive information collected in the field. Tethys has conducted longitudinal studies in the Ligurian, Adriatic and Ionian Seas, and in several areas around the world. Tethys is partner to UNEP's Agreement on the Conservation of Cetaceans in the Black Sea, Mediterranean Sea and Contiguous Atlantic Area (ACCOBAMS).
Member since: 21 Mar 2007

How the minimum criteria of the responsible travel standard was met...

Economic responsibility

  • Accommodation is rented locally and supplies such as food, replacements and some equipment are purchased locally.
  • Expedition team members are encouraged to make use of local facilities and resources - e.g. shopping, local bars, restaurants and local opportunities (nature trips etc.)
  • The project conducted in Italy consistently employs local personnel. The project in Greece involves Greek personnel whenever possible, and has been consistently welcoming Greek students and young researchers.

Environmental responsibility

  • Tethys research projects are conducted in ways that minimise their impact on the environment and have primarily a conservation goal, as documented by the success achieved by Tethys over the past 20 years.
  • Information is provided to volunteers on how water and energy wastes can be minimized. The lifestyle at research stations and boats is comfortable but wastes are reduced by all means and recycling is done to the extent possible.
  • As one of the main objectives of Tethys is to encourage a sustainable use of the marine environment, project participants are given information on responsible behaviour towards the marine environment.

Social responsibility

  • Meetings, lectures and events centred around the marine environment and its conservation are regularly organized to involve the local community and schools.
  • Whenever possible, Tethys involves local people as researchers and assistants. Collaboration with local Authorities, Universities and NGOs is frequent.
  • Volunteers are informed about the most appropriate behaviour and dress, particularly when walking around in local towns, visiting churches, sitting at restaurants etc.