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California establishes Marine Preserves Photo

California establishes Marine Preserves

Following the combined efforts of many conservationists and fishing industry personnel, the California Department of Fish and Game (DFG) decided on Tuesday to ban or restrict any fishing or taking of game along nearly 18% of the Central California coast, including areas of Monterey. The size and location of the protected areas were based upon a proposal by the fishers and from divers and environmentalists; protecting 5% and 13% of Central California’s coastal waters, respectively. The DFG also took into account a wide-range of testimony presented Tuesday, with the reasoning that it would be wise to adapt stronger protections at the present time so as to be able to relax them at a later date if the fish stocks showed a quick recovery.

Wetpixel thanks the efforts of all individuals who worked to help protect these areas, with a nod to Backscatter’s Berkley White for his call to action to attend the DFG meeting.

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Write to Continue Ban on Shark Finning Photo

Write to Continue Ban on Shark Finning

Wetpixel friend and member Neil Hammerschlag has alerted us that the state of North Carolina is considering relaxing their ban on shark finning.  According to the Ocean Conservancy:

“The U.S. was one of the first countries in the world to ban shark finning (the wasteful practice of slicing off a shark’s fins and discarding the body back to the sea).  Shark finning prohibitions were first adopted for the U.S. Atlantic and, with your help, have spread to the U.S. Pacific, many other countries, and most of the world’s international waters.

But now North Carolina commercial fishermen are attempting to reverse this progress by relaxing shark finning rules. We need your help to block this troubling maneuver. Lawmakers need to hear that the public, especially those from North Carolina, still strongly opposes the finning of sharks. Please take action today by urging your U.S. Senators to keep the shark finning ban strong.”

Click through to read more about it, and email your representative.  Click the blue button to “take action.”  This is especially important if you are in North Carolina, however if you are from out of state, you can still email your representative as a concerned visitor to N.C.

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Oil spills in Philippines and Indian Ocean Photo

Oil spills in Philippines and Indian Ocean

In less than a week’s time, two significant tanker-based oil spills have been reported to authorities. The first news came Friday after a sinking in the Philippines, and on Monday, Japan’s media stated that the tanker Bright Artemis had spilled oil after a collision with another vessel.

A Japanese tanker spilled about 1.4 million gallons of crude oil in the eastern Indian Ocean following a collision with a cargo ship, the tanker’s operator said Tuesday. Japan’s Kyodo news service said the spill — which would be about 4,500 tons — may have been the largest ever involving a Japanese tanker.

In a separate oil spill, the Philippines said that a tanker had sunk in rough seas Friday off the coast of Guimaras Island, about 312 miles southeast of Manila. About 528,000 gallons of industrial fuel was leaking from the accident, officials said.

A central Philippine island province declared a “state of calamity” following what authorities called the country’s worst spill.

It is hoped that the nations affected move swiftly to contain the respective spills and attempt to minimize the damage to the environment.
 

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Matt Segal joins Wetpixel moderation team Photo

Matt Segal joins Wetpixel moderation team

Please join me in welcoming Matt Segal to the Wetpixel moderation team! 

Matt, a Southern California native and resident, learned to dive in the Cayman Islands after a knee injury at age 15. He began underwater photography (and photography in general) in late 2003 and has pursued it since, spending much of his time underwater at the local Channel Islands as well as areas in the South Pacific and Caribbean. He is a participating member of the Los Angeles Underwater Photographic Society (LAUPS), and currently shoots a Canon 20D in an Ikelite housing, with two Ikelite DS-125 strobes. Segal is a National Merit Scholar and is majoring in Aerospace Engineering at the University of Southern California on a full scholarship.

Matt is also by far the youngest moderator in the Wetpixel volunteer staff.  We are all envious of his youth and are looking forward to the energy he will bring to the team!

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Changes to Wetpixel Picture of the Week Contest

I have made some changes to the Wetpixel Picture of the Week Contest:

  • Entries in open competitions are now ordered by date and time submitted. This means that if you submit an entry early, your photo is more likely to be shown at the top of the page during voting.
  • You may now hide individual entries during voting to reduce clutter on the screen. My recommendation for voting is to show all of the pages (click on "All" in the page selector) and then hide all of the entries you don't like. From your new short list, vote for your 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place entries.

Good luck! As a reminder, new contests spawn every Sunday night at midnight, and you can always see the next week's topic in each contest's description.

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Save the Breakwater, Monterey Photo

Save the Breakwater, Monterey

Backscatter‘s Berkley White writes in:

Please call in sick or close your business this Tuesday!  ...save the Monterey Breakwater!  Please help us finish a 10 year fight to save the Breakwater from hooks and spears… bring back the wolfeels and rockfish for all to enjoy.  The meeting will be held on Tuesday, August 15th, 9:00am, at the Beach Resort Monterey, 2600 Sand Dunes Drive, Monterey

Here’s how you can help:

1)  Attend the DFG meeting this Tuesday in Monterey
2)  Email the pdf flyer to all your contacts
3)  Verify that your dive buddies will attend

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Unofficial travel advisory about Puerto Rico

There has been a lot of discussion here on Wetpixel about losing equipment while travelling through Puerto Rico’s Luis Muñoz Marin International Airport (SJU) in San Juan.  We have received confirmation that thieves at the airport are continuing to target both topside and underwater camera gear in checked baggage.  If you travel with expensive gear, please use caution when deciding on a route that goes through Puerto Rico.  I myself decided some time ago that I will not fly through Puerto Rico again until the crime ring is caught.

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