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MEGA NEWS - The Project Pelagos

Ecco the Game - Ecco: Save the Dolphins!

europe conservation logo

If you don’t own Ecco on Megadrive and you notice a cartridge with a sticker for the Pelagos project, jump on it. You’ll have fun with a great game and you’ll let Sega give another 5 francs for the Pelagos project, isn't that great?

A vast awareness campaign has been launched, aimed at sensitizing the general public on the danger faced by dolphins and all other marine mammals. It’s taking advantage of the launch of the Ecco The Dolphin game on Megadrive with Sega of France taking part in the protection of dolphins. MegaForce has learned about this and presents to you information that will amaze, and for some, shock at the same time. You also need to buy Ecco The Dolphin, it’s a great game but it’s also even more than just a game - It’s your participation in safeguarding marine life. Ecco-logical!

Ecco the Dolphin Really Exists!

If you’ve already played the fabulous aquatic action/adventure game that is Ecco, you should know that Ecco really does exist and he’s currently taking it easy between the Mediterranean and Adriatic seas! Ecco is part of the bottlenose dolphin breed (the Tursiops Truncatus or great dolphin). The average size of this breed is 3 metres in length, with some males somewhat larger than females. A male can reach a maximum length of 3 metres and weigh up to 390 kilos!

For all the aspiring scientists reading this, the Bottlenose Dolphin has 20 to 26 small teeth, its belly is white. The female can only have one calf which is carried for 12 months (The calf measures 1m at birth!). Females are sexually mature between the ages 5 and 12 and can only produce calves every two years. The Bottlenose Dolphin can reach a speed of 33 km/h (which is fast for a dolphin) and can stay underwater for up to 8 minutes (as those who played the Megadrive game would know).

The classic meal for a Bottlenose Dolphin is composed of fish (anchovies, pilchard, mackerel, cornetfish, squid, etc.). A Dolphin in captivity can live up to 5 to 7 years, while a Dolphin living in the wild can live up to 25 to 30 years

Concerning our dear friend Ecco, he is well known by the inhabitants of the islands of Cherso and Lussino in the Adriatic. He is often seen making a fool of himself, performing double jumps in the air. Ecco can be spotted by his unique dorsal fin that has a whice crescent of grey blue, the usual color for a dolphin. Ecco is a loner and likes to go from group to group.

I Adopted a Dolphin:

The real Ecco the Dolphin! He’s recognizable by his white speckled fin. Ecco likes to approach the coast, acting silly and making tourists laugh.

Photos obtained from MEGA Force magazine and restored by Tonurics and Johnny "Arkonviox" de Alba.

Murderous Fisherman

Ecco’s situation is very concerning, this includes all of his fellow dolphins living in the Mediterranean. This is due to illegal industrialized fishing. This type of fishing involves giagantic nets that are discreetly left to drift. The law allows nets 2.5 km in length but some fishman laugh this off and use 10 km nets. The result of this profitable fishing enterprise takes on the appearance of a mass genocide with regards to several breeds of aquatic life, including Bottlenose Dolphins.

The offending fishermen are Italian but are also Moroccan, Spanish, Greek, French (eh, eh!) and also Japanese (eh, eh again!). Under the pretense of fishing for swordfish, Italians have probably captured six dolphins this year, and when I say "captured", this means a slow horrible death. Just imagine drifting 20 metres underwater for a few days, do you see the disaster? Just to remind you, a dolphin is a mammal, certainly marine, but still mammal; it must regularly rise to the surface to breathe.

The funny thing in the story is that industrial fishing companies in the Mediteranean Sea aren’t even aware they’re exhausting their principal source of income, it's a real commercial suicide! So we don’t really see why innocent victims like dolphins would be hostages of a fishery that doesn’t even have to be, or at least in the rules (2.5 km)... Anyway, the offending societies completely don’t care because they’re going to exhaust other seas when the Mediteranean will be nothing more than a gigantic aquatic cemetery. It’s therefore up to us to respond, because species such as whales or dolphins are heading for disaster: if nothing is done today, these species will be endangered by the end of the century, the end of their story…

ecco adoption certificate

If you want to co-adopt, you need to contact "Europe Conservation" whose contact details are: C.P. 44. 41260 LA CHAUSSÉE SAINT VICTOR Phone: 54 74 22 80

But What to Do Then?

As the Ecco game deals largely with underwater world protection, Sega of France made the excellent decision to participate in the saving of dolphins in the Mediteranean Sea! The coolest thing about this story is that you’re also going to participate in this great movement against human predators who use killer nets or dump chemicals into the sea. It’s not about sinking 800 fishing boats that ply the Mediteranean (that’s best left for the next shoot-them-up on Megadrive!) but more to avoid falling into this trap of savagery. The Europe Conservation is working in this direction on a project for an aquatic natural park in the Ligurian Sea (between Corsica and Monaco), or a marine reserve.

proposed marine reserve

Proposed Marine Reserve:

Here is the chosen zone for the project Pelagos. It’s one of the richest areas of the Mediterranean in terms of animal species.

Original map obtained from MEGA Force magazine. Map recreation by Johnny "Arkonviox" de Alba and vectorized by Tonurics.

The dolphins and other endangered marine animals could thus live there in peace. That would make a 40000 square km basin in the international waters between the French Riviera and Corsica. It’s serious since it is based on concepts introduced by Unesco in 1974, a lot of important people are involved with this fabulous project, and Sega of France decided to participate financially. It might be difficult to set up, therefore costing a lot of money (indeed, you can’t put up money like that in natural parks around the world!).

Sega of France will thus donate 5 francs for each of the first 30000 Ecco games sold (that’d nevertheless makes 150000 francs for dolphins) to the Europe Conservation association, initiator of the Pelagos project, since the name of the reserve will be Pelagos. And this is where you come in, dear attentive readers (for those who held up until now, this is a change from oridinary news, eh?). If you don't own Ecco on Megadrive and you notice a cartridge with a sticker for the Pelagos project, jump on it. You’ll have fun with a great game and you’ll let Sega give another 5 francs to the Pelagos project, great isn't it!