The history of our association begins in 1991. After having participated in the first surveys in the Italian seas conducted by the Tethys Research Institute in collaboration with the sailing association I Venturieri, Barbara Mussi, owner of the schooner Barbarian, decided to make the island of Ischia her base. The aim was starting a long-term study on cetaceans in the islands of the Pontine and Campanian archipelagos. The area had never been the subject of systematic research on marine mammals but had been noted for its particular biodiversity.
The research involved all people working at sea, on ferries, cargos, fishing boats and patrol boats of the Coast Guard and Finance. The data were discontinuous but confirmed the winter presence of cetaceans in the study area.
At the same time, under the guidance of Captain Angelo Miragliuolo, monitoring at sea began. Barbarian, the first research vessel of the project, was equipped with a hydrophone system.
The observations allowed to establish a rich variety of cetaceans in the study area, confirming the presence of seven different species (Mussi et al., 1998). In 1997, the study of the local population of the rare common dolphin (Delphinus delphis) began in the waters of Ischia.
In December 1999, the sinking of Barbarian, due to a violent storm that destroyed the entire port, caused an abrupt arrest to the project, which also suffered the loss of data and onboard instrumentation.
After few months, Angelo Miragliuolo and Barbara Mussi, with the help of Karin Theimann, were able to purchase a new sailboat, Jean Gab, to restore it and equip it for research.
The following year, thanks to the strong motivation of Katia Massaro, who embraced the cause of the project, Delphis Mediterranean Dolphin Conservation was founded, a non-profit organization dedicated to the conservation of cetaceans through research and education.
Delphis has supported the study over the years and has succeeded in spreading the mission throughout the territory, through the creation of a Cetacean Museum and educational events such as the annual Dolphin Festival.
Oceanomare Delphis Onlus
Sharing common views, actions and people, in 2010 Delphis MDC and Oceanomare decided to blend their effort, establishing a new, larger organization. Thus Oceanomare Delphis Onlus (ODO) was born, a non-profit organization that works for the study and protection of cetaceans and the ecosystems in which they live, thanks to actions of knowledge, conservation and information.
We believe that a fusion of expertise and ideas towards a common goal is needed to meet challenges facing cetacean knowledge/conservation and beyond.