Monthly Archives: February 2013

Photo of the Day ~ CITES 2013 ~ The Year of the Shark

Photo: Oceanic White Tip Shark with Pilot Fish, (c) Daniel Botelho CITES is widely recognized as one of the most effective and best-enforced international conservation agreements. It offers protection to more than 30,000 species around the globe and has been instrumental in preventing the extinction of numerous plants and animals. The 16th meeting of CITES will be held from March 3–14, 2013, in Bangkok, Thailand. Advocates are pushing for the adoption of three shark proposals and one manta ray proposal, to include these species on Appendix II at CoP 16 (porbeagle, oceanic whitetip, and hammerhead sharks (scalloped, great, and smooth), and manta rays). Fishing has drastically depleted shark and ray populations over the past 60 years. Of the shark and ray species assessed by scientists for the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN),  30 per cent are threatened or near-threatened with extinction.…
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Beach Art: A Valentine to the Ocean

Lucia Pec is a German-born nature guide and beach artist living in the Bohemian Forest, or Šumava, in the Czech Republic. A marine and forest ecologist by training, Pec’s main focus is to “bring across the value of wild nature to everybody.” Each winter she and her family visit Portugal, where Pec fell in love with doing beach art: Since a couple of winters I come for a break to the magnificent wild beaches of the western Algarve in Portugal. First I was shocked by the amount of rubbish that piles up on almost all beaches. But being a beach treasure seeker all my life, soon all the little and big things stranded ashore started to inspire me. So I started to turn some pieces of waste into very short-lasting art objects, which in that composition only outlast in my pictures.…
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Photo of the Day ~ We Heart Reefs

For many people, coral reefs are the only part of the ocean they ever see. Shallow tropical reef areas such as this heart shaped reef allow us to explore its wonders – using just a mask and fins, giving us just a small taste of the magnificent colonies that exist below – farther offshore and in the deep ocean. For many researchers the circle of life starts with coral reefs. Why? Coral reefs are a critical part of the ocean ecosystem — teeming with sea life that relies on them for survival. And this sea life is important to our economy, providing millions of people around the globe with food, coastal storm protection, and jobs. Unfortunately, coral reefs are threatened by a growing number of natural and man-made stresses.…
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Benchley Youth Award Winner Leads Youth Ocean Conservation Summit

Last year we met Sean Russell, one of a growing group of young people who are changing the world. And now, we are proud to welcome the ‘Stow It Don’t Throw It Project’ as a new Mission Blue Affiliate Partner. Sean is the founder of the Youth Ocean Conservation Summit and the Stow It Don’t Throw It Project,  where he works tirelessly to remind young people that they can make a difference. He provides them with training, tools and acts as mentor to help them reach their goals. We weren’t surprised to hear that Sean will be receiving the ‘Christopher Benchley Youth Award’ at the Blue Frontier Campaign’s  Peter Benchley Awards on May 15 in Washington, D.C.  ~  Ed. Inspiring Youth Around the world, our planet’s oceans and their inhabitants face many challenges.…
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Photo of the Day ~ Whale Shark Saved by Divers

Last November, when a team of dive guides and guests aboard the 112-foot vessel Solmar V went for their first dive of the day near Socorro Island, Mexico, they spotted a pregnant whale shark tangled in a 2" rope. On their second dive, they saw the same shark again and proceeded to cut it free. You can watch the rescue in the video below. As the issue of marine debris becomes more pervasive, scenes like this will become even more common than they are today. Photo: (c) David Valencia…
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Photo of the Day ~ Curious Hudson’s Bay Belugas

For many of us, the Arctic is just a far-away corner of the planet that we may never see. So why should we care about it?  “It isn’t just about polar bears,” says Dr. Sylvia Earle. “Although they are the Arctic’s biggest predator and cutest mascot, there is much more at stake in this rich and largely unexplored ecosystem than you’d think.” Our lives depend the stability of the Arctic – one reason that Dr. Earle has declared the Arctic region as a Mission Blue ‘Hope Spot.’ The images created by Virginia Bria celebrate the beauty of our fragile blue planet. The complete collection of her work is on her website,  Bella Sirena Images. Here, Virginia encounters a group of beluga whales who are clearly curious and unconcerned by her presence.…
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Photo of the Day ~ Kissing Manatees

Mission Blue's Photo of the Day to kick off Valentine's Week is from the very talented aquatic photographer Amanda Cotton. The Florida Manatee  (Trichechus manatus latirostrus) is an aquatic mammal. They breathe air; have whiskers on their skin, and thick layers of fat keep them warm. They are also over-the-top cute, especially when they’re feeling romantic! Manatees usually come to the surface every 3-4 minutes to breathe fresh air. They sleep on the bottom and ascend every 20 minutes for a breath. Weighing up to 1,200 pounds, they never stop growing as long as they live. Florida Manatees are an Endangered Species. One of it's relatives, the Stellar Sea Cow is already extinct. Only about 2,000 Florida manatees are left in Florida today.…
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Great Whales Still Face Grave Threats

The Great Whales need our help.  They face multiple threats today in many parts of the world: “scientific whaling,” ship strikes, habitat encroachment, decreasing food supplies, ocean acidification, etc.; it is up to us to take on these threats and do what we can to protect these magnificent, sentient beings. The Great Whale Conservancy was created in 2010 to answer this call, and the first problem we are focusing on is the ship strike issue that plagues whales in oceans around the planet –where great whales and cargo ships, oil tankers, and cruise ships try to occupy the same place at the same time.  The whales have no choice: they need to follow their food and consumes tons of protein every day to survive. …
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Photo of the Day ~ Wisdom’s chick has hatched!

The oldest known living wild bird in the world gave birth Sunday to a healthy hatchling. The 62-year-old bird, “Wisdom,” last made headlines in 2011, when the albatross survived the aftermath of the Japanese tsunami. In this photo,  Wisdom (left) attempts to nudge her mate off the nest for her turn at incubating the couple’s egg. She’s 62; the male is presumed to be much younger. In her lifetime, she has survived numerous disasters including tsunamis, tropical storms, hurricanes, longline fishing and plastic pollution. Wisdom has defied the odds in many aspects: She’s already lived nearly twice as long as the average Laysan albatross. She was given her name after being tagged by a U.S. Geological Survey researcher in 1956.  The USGS estimates that since being tagged, Wisdom has flown an estimated 2 million to 3 million miles, or “four to six trips from the Earth to the Moon and back again with plenty of miles to spare.”…
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