Institute of Ecotechnics, UK, has chartered the Heraclitus/Ecotechnics Maritime to undertake an expedition documenting the current statues of fisheries of the Mediterranean rim. Oral historian Johanna Eurich has been spearheading interviews, with a videographer and local translators. Over 70 interviews of fishermen, shipbuilders and other community members have been filmed.
For millennia, the Mediterranean peoples have conducted maritime quests for myth, treasure, inspiration, food, commerce, transportation, conquest, exploitation, research, discovery and adventure.
The Research Vessel Heraclitus and its parent organisation, the Institute of Ecotechnics, in collaboration with Mediterranean institutions, are engaged in an expedition 2011-2014, exploring the rich Intangible Cultural Histories of the peoples of key Mediterranean port cities- their values, myths, memories, hopes and wisdom in relation to this legendary sea. These histories are gathered in interviews and documentation of the modern and historic port communities.
Studies are now underway in collaboration with the Museu Valencia d’Etnologia, Office de la Mer of Marseille, and other EU and international organisations. Project leaders are working with the local community in interchanges with local guardians and practitioners of traditional customs and maritime knowledge, and others who represent the current trends of civic development and cultural shifts. Fishermen, elders, historians, sailors, fishmongers, chefs, boat builders, meteorologists, artists, marine biologists, business leaders and port officials are among those being interviewed.
We live on the Water Planet with a dynamic and complex biosphere. The worldwide crises of pollution and species loss affecting oceans and waterways emanates from human activities, and in turn, profoundly affects our daily lives. These activities in turn spring from values that define relationships between cultures and the hydrosphere- oceans, groundwater, lakes, glaciers, rivers and streams.
The Expedition seeks to understand dynamics of the ethnosphere (the global web of cultures), their consequences, intended and unintended, and how they affect our biosphere. Oral history has been recognised as a practice that reveals unmediated ground truth of women and men whose lives create local and global history. A documentation of oral history offers insight into experience and events of specific times and places.
The Heraclitus has sailed the oceans for thirty-six years with a core crew of mariners who have developed a way of life on the sea. These contemporary sea people have acquired an intimate and unique knowledge of the biosphere and varied cultures which inhabit the Water Planet. Visiting land from the point of view of the water offers a distinctly different perspective of human activities than that from the land or air.
Previous Heraclitus expeditions have included ethnobotany, weather patterns, coral reef health, cetaceans, and wastewater impact on coastlines. Voyages have also focussed on leadership training, adventure and cultural exchange. The Mediterranean expedition explores the present moment of dynamic Mediterranean maritime history, and documents those cultures that spawn the future.