Since 1989 Alnitak has had a variety of important accomplishments which have had direct, tangible, and lasting positive effects both on the marine environment but also for the sectors that have helped us put them into practice. Fishers, merchant navy, NATO, Universities, schools, our tireless volunteers on board… Everyone has had a hand in reaching important goals.
Here is a non-exhaustive list:

– 95% reduction of by catch of marine turtles in the Spanish long-lining fleet targeting swordfish, with an added advantage of fishers hooking larger and more mature fish
– The reconfiguration of traffic separation schemes (TSS) in Cabo de Gata thanks to the IMO, moving about 25% of the world’s maritime traffic away from critical habitat of protected species and reducing emissions of the ships due to speed reductions
– Risk zone mapping of Sonar in the whole Mediterranean to determine overlap with Beaked whale habitat, and thanks to collaboration with NATO the end of mid-frequency sonar use in the Alborán Sea
– Contribution to endangered species conservation plans such as marine turtles through the US Government’s Marine Turtle Conservation Act, and Mediterranean common dolphin through ACCOBAMS, among many others.
– Award-winning volunteer program, winning the FITUR “best nature experience”
– 18 Marine Protected Areas declared in large part due to Alnitak’s MEDTOP database, of which 8 were declared exclusively based on this data. Most in Spanish waters, but also in Malta, and in the Horn of Africa (3)
– Pioneer work alongside fishers, from “Train the trainer” workshops which have been conducted in 3 continents, and the founding of a Women’s Fisher Association in Djibouti to support sustainable practice and food security for at-risk families
– Leaders in stakeholder engagement, which led to a 2014 ASHOKA Fellowship
– Many projects, innovations and strategies have been exported to Africa, Central and South America

In terms of Culture, our main contribution to the preservation of maritime heritage is our maintenance of RV Toftevaag, our research platform for over 30 years, still going strong.

our scientific experience

Since 1989
  • Reconfiguration of shipping lanes in Alboran
  • 95% reduction in bycatch of turtles in LLSWO
  • Risk zone mapping for SONAR Beaked whale stranding risk
  • Capacity development, standardizing of protocols, international networking and collaboration
  • Education
  • Stakeholder engagement


The official goals of Alnitak are:

To develop research and education programmes for the conservation of our maritime natural and cultural treasures.

  • Replicating the Alnitak formula in S & C America, Africa and throughout the Mediterranean.

Our work has also featured in a number of documentaries and series, such as BBC’s The Blue Planet. Here is a clip: