Geneva, Switzerland - May 30, 2023 - MSC Cruises and MSC Foundation announced an innovative partnership today with NatureMetrics, the pioneering nature intelligence and environmental DNA specialists.
The primary goal of this visionary project, named “eBioAtlas: Biodiversity Sampling from Cruise Liners using eDNA,” is to collect comprehensive biodiversity data for marine species using the innovative technique of DNA sampling. By collecting eDNA from seawater while on board and sending it to NatureMetrics for analysis, the team will discover and record the marine wildlife present across MSC Cruises’ routes.
The project has global reach with the data contributing to the eBioAtlas, a global program by NatureMetrics and IUCN. The eBioAtlas unlocks the vast reach of the global community, now including MSC Cruises and MSC Foundation, to come together and provide a new, harmonized biodiversity data layer that will drive informed decision-making for the benefit of both people and nature.
Recognizing the urgent need for improved data to mitigate biodiversity loss and accelerate progress toward a nature-positive future, eBioAtlas will help move the needle for global priorities such as climate mitigation, adaptation and food security. Through close collaboration with local stakeholders, marine non-governmental organizations (NGOs), national governments, and the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species, this initiative will enable up-to-date marine species assessments and reassessments in the North Atlantic.
Dr Kat Bruce, Founder at NatureMetrics, said: “Collaboration is crucial in our quest to halt and reverse the loss of biodiversity by the end of the decade. MSC Cruises’ pioneering work to collect and share biodiversity data with our eBioAtlas program will unlock nature insights that allow us to make informed decisions on marine conservation globally. The time for decisive action is now, and with organizations like MSC Cruises leading the way in the travel industry, we can create a world where businesses and nature can make meaningful progress in harmony.”
The eBioAtlas program will acquire biodiversity data from three different MSC Cruises itineraries, providing accurate information for the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. This valuable data will be made accessible to third parties free of charge through the eBioAtlas partnership between NatureMetrics and IUCN, fostering conservation and restoration efforts throughout the Northern Atlantic.
Daniela Picco, Executive Director of the MSC Foundation, said: “The MSC Foundation is committed to advancing ocean conservation through science. It was therefore only natural for us to join forces with NatureMetrics to support vital biodiversity mapping, assisting the International Union for Conservation of Nature to perform the assessments that are critical indicators of global biodiversity health.”
Seawater samples will be collected from the vessels' seawater intakes using specially designed eDNA collection kits. These samples will then be sealed and sent to NatureMetrics for DNA analysis. The results, along with location details, will be shared with the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) to enhance their understanding of global ocean biodiversity.
The maiden ship to participate in the sampling initiative will be MSC Euribia, which will commence data collection in the Nordic region (Norway and North Sea) followed by MSC Poesia (Iceland and Greenland) and MSC Preziosa (Iceland, Norway and Svalbard).
Coppell Linden, VP of Sustainability and ESG at MSC Cruises, said: "Our innovative partnership with NatureMetrics is more than just a strategic alliance. It's a commitment to harnessing advanced eDNA technologies and global collaboration to drive our sustainability and conservation efforts. It's about utilizing our resources wisely and optimizing processes to make the best possible decisions for our planet's future. We are proud to be supporting this vital work by taking samples on four ships over 11 cruises, for a total of 114 sampling days this year.”
Marina Anselme, Secretary General at the MSC Foundation, explained: "The MSC Foundation is delighted to facilitate and fund this groundbreaking partnership with NatureMetrics and MSC Cruises. This partnership is a testament to our commitment to protect our oceans and create a nature-positive future for generations to come."
The partnership between NatureMetrics, MSC Cruises and the MSC Foundation highlights these organizations’ commitment to promoting marine conservation, supporting the Global Biodiversity Framework and building a sustainable future. Together, they strive to establish a solid foundation for informed decision-making and to inspire individuals to appreciate and protect the precious species that inhabit our shared spaces.
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NatureMetrics is a world leader in delivering nature data and intelligence. We use cutting-edge technology to generate biodiversity data at scale using environmental DNA. We make biodiversity measurable and support business to transition to a nature positive economy by providing the data with which to drive good decisions for business and nature. Our mission is to transform the scale, comprehensiveness and accessibility of biodiversity data around the world, creating a comprehensive database of life on earth which will help us identify how best to protect it.
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About MSC Cruises
MSC Cruises is the world’s third largest cruise brand as well as the market leader in Europe, South America, the Gulf region and Southern Africa. It is also the fastest growing global cruise brand with a strong presence in the Caribbean, North America and the Far East markets.
Headquartered in Geneva, Switzerland, MSC Cruises is one of the two brands that sit within the Cruise Division of MSC Group, the world’s leading and privately held shipping and logistics conglomerate with over 300 years of maritime heritage. MSC Cruises – the contemporary brand - has a modern fleet of 21 vessels combined with a sizeable future global investment portfolio of new vessels, terminals and other assets. The fleet is projected to grow to 23 cruise ships by 2025, with options for six more vessel orders in place through 2030.
MSC Cruises offers its guests an enriching, immersive and safe cruise experience inspired by the Company’s European heritage, where they can enjoy international dining, world-class entertainment, award-winning family programs, and the very latest user-friendly technology on board. To learn more about MSC Cruises’ itineraries and experience on board its ships, click here.
The line’s number one priority has always been the health and safety of its guests and crew, as well as the communities at the destinations its ships serve. In August 2020, MSC Cruises implemented a new comprehensive and robust health and safety protocol to become the first major line to return to sea. To learn more about MSC Cruises’ health & safety protocol, click here.
MSC Cruises has long been committed to environmental stewardship, with a long-term goal to achieve net zero emissions for its operations by 2050. The Company is also a significant investor in next-generation environmental marine technologies, with the objective to support their accelerated development and availability industry-wide. To learn more about the Company’s environmental commitment, click here.
Finally, to learn more about the MSC Foundation, MSC Group’s own vehicle to lead, focus and advance its conservation, humanitarian and cultural commitments, click here.
ABOUT THE MSC FOUNDATION:
The non-profit MSC Foundation implements the MSC Group’s marine conservation, humanitarian and sustainable development commitments worldwide, utilizing MSC’s global reach and unique knowledge of the sea to protect and nurture our blue planet, its peoples and our shared cultural heritage.
Concentrating on four areas – the Environment, Community Support, Education and Emergency Relief – the Foundation promotes the protection and sustainable management of ecosystems, empowers vulnerable communities around the world to realize their full potential, supports equitable and inclusive quality education to foster enduring individual and collective development, and helps disaster-struck populations toward recovery.
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