Menkab, the sea has its own lucky star

The association was created in 2010 and operates in the sector of scientific research and protection of the environment.

Menkab, the sea has its own lucky star

Stars have always been the most reliable guide at sea, as they assist in plotting the right course even in pitch darkness. So what is the most appropriate name for someone who wants to protect the sea and cetaceans if not Menkab, the brightest star in the constellation of Cetus? It is the name that has been chosen for the association that supports environmental education and scientific research dedicated to the study and monitoring of cetaceans in the Mediterranean.

Menkab was founded in 2010 and is the result of previous cooperation between the Department of Biology at Genoa University and the Oceanographic Museum of Monaco. Biologist Maurizio Wurtz, who was involved in that successful initiative, has been working on the “Menkab project” since 2004. The project immediately became an international focal point for the study of dolphins, killer whales, sperm whales and whales. Six years later, the project was transformed into an actual association.

Maurizio has used the skills of numerous collaborators on the project, including his son Samuele, a yachtsman and film-maker to whom he has passed on his love of the sea, and Giulia Calogero, who has collaborated with the Italian National Research Council on various oceanographic campaigns in the Mediterranean and who works actively in teaching and popularising scientific information.

Menkab has performed many successful initiatives since 2010, such as the Ishmael project, dedicated to the study of at-risk ecosystems for sperm whales, aimed at reducing the human impact on them, and the Giohna project, which looked at the habitats and movements of the bottlenose dolphin, in order to map the ecosystems and identify the areas to protect.

The latest is the Whalesafe project, the objective of which is development of a technology that prevents potential collisions between ships and pods of whales through a complex system of frequencies. In addition to ecological studies on cetaceans and the seabed to improve sustainability and reduce the environmental impact of human activities, Menkab also provides training. Biology and in-field marine ecology courses have been organised over the years and also lessons on how to recognise sperm whales at sea.

Menkab also works tirelessly to raise awareness of protection of the marine ecosystem, both directly and indirectly, through photography workshops in the open sea, marine “safaris” for film-makers and whale and dolphin watching weekends. This is because the first step in protecting and safeguarding the sea is learning to love it, following the guide star that shines on Menkab and lights its way.