Snapper Ledge petition for Sanctuary Preservation Area (SPA) status
Snapper Ledge, a popular dive site off of Tavernier in the Florida Keys, is home to some of the most dense and diverse marine life populations in the area. Unfortunately, Snapper Ledge has become a popular destination for spear-fishing. It is common for recreational SCUBA divers to see the carnage left by spear-fisherman, many of whom are underwater simply to shoot animals for sport. Some divers have even reported spear-fisherman killing animals within mere feet of them.
Stephen Frink wrote to me a few days ago and asked me to get Wetpixel behind a petition to get Snapper Ledge designated as a Sanctuary Preservation Area (SPA). There seems to be good momentum behind getting this done, and we need as many signatures as possible before it can be presented to the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary.
Petitions work—our last petition, which fought for a no-take zone under the Blue Heron Bridge in Palm Beach, resulted in great success; the BHB area is now a no-take zone. We need you to sign the petition now and to help get the word out to all of your friends!
UPDATE: Stephen Frink has posted a 7-minute video on Scuba Diving’s website about Snapper Ledge. It is well worth a visit.
UPDATE: The news media has picked up the Snapper Ledge petition as a “photographer vs spearfisherman” issue. This is not the case. Read Stephen Frink’s thoughts on the matter, if you want more information.
Blue Heron Bridge is now protected
We recently received great news about the Blue Heron Bridge. Douglas Kahle, the attorney and diver originally responsible for the Blue Heron Bridge petition, sent us the following update:
The Blue Heron Bridge Petition has been a success. County Commissioner Karen T. Marcus was extremely responsive and apparently sympathetic to the Petition and the cause; she performed magnificently in seeking protection for the marine creatures inhabiting the BHB area. As set forth in the attached letters, Rich Walesky, the Director of Environmental Resources Management, concluded that it is in fact a violation to remove marine creatures from the BHB area. Furthermore, Dennis Eshleman, Director of the County Parks and Recreation Department, is pursuing a submerged land lease with the state to provide additional protection. Finally, a sign will be placed at the area to inform the public that marine creatures cannot be removed from the area and the Park Rangers will be notified immediately.
Please don’t hesitate to contact Commissioner Marcus to thank her for her actions. Read full article for complete correspondence and contact information.
Manta Fest 2008 Wetpixel Coverage - Day 7
The first week of Manta Fest has come to an end, and unfortunately, some folks are leaving us today. However, we are looking forward to our next batch of arrivals over the coming days, which include several Wetpixel members! Over the last week, we have enjoyed Yap’s fine Manta diving with each and every one of our visits to Goofnuw Channel resulting in some kind of manta interaction.
We have also visited the famous Yap Caverns, the mandarinfish dusk dive, and had a fantastic shark feed at Vertigo with over 20 grey reef sharks and a half dozen black tips—but no surprise visit by any silky sharks, unfortunately…
Tony Wu blogs from Tonga: Week Five with Humpbacks
Tony Wu has written a fifth installment to his weekly chronicles of Tonga humpback whales encounters and other experiences in the kingdom:
This past week has been one of the toughest I’ve had in Tonga for many years. The winds have been consistently strong. We’ve had rain, lightning, thunder and even hail. There have been several power outages. Swells and high seas have hit from every direction. All-in-all, not a prime week for whale watching.
Despite the hardship, we made it out on Friday, the last day of our friends’ stay in Vava’u. Luckily, we found a highly cooperative mom, baby and escort in a sheltered, calm area to end our week-long dry spell. Everyone got in for some quality time with the calf…in fact, the whales were chilled out and laid back, and the mom gave the baby complete freedom to play with us…
Earth-Touch.com online HD wildlife channel
Earth-Touch.com is an online HD wildlife content provider that allows viewers to watch amazing wildlife within days of shooting on location. Using satellite transmission and a workflow that pipelines the clips for editing and uploading, this company manages to provide some awesome HD content online and broadcast.
While in South Africa for the Ocean Safari, Drew Wong hung out the Earth-Touch crew, courtesy of cameraman Barry Skinstad, during their underwater filming, editing, and uploading of content. Continue reading to learn about the schedule of a typical day on location…
DivePhotoGuide presents Underwater Photographer’s Guide to Bali
Our friends at DivePhotoGuide sent their youngest editor, Matt Weiss, into the field for three months to research the underwater photography opportunities in Southeast Asia - the most bio-diverse marine ecosystems in the world. This is in no way a complete guide to Southeast Asia, but rather some recommended destinations to dive and shoot, with a focus primarily on macro species.
The first destination is widely traveled through by divers, but is often overlooked for the diving and rather used more as an international airport hub – Bali, Indonesia. Visit Part 1 and Part 2 of the series for the full story…
Underwater Australasia photo competition 2007-2008 winners released
Underwater.com.au has announced the winners of its 4th annual Underwater Australasia 2007-2008 photo competition. The grand prize of a week dive holiday for two in Indonesia was awarded to Matt Tworkowski for his image of the stingless jellyfish in Palau’s lake, while the first place winner of the novice category, Larry Medenilla, won a four day dive trip to the Northern Great Barrier Reef.
Judges included Michael Aw and contemporary underwater artist Richard Vevers, as well as members of the Underwater.com.au team, who anticipate the quality of imagery to continue to impress in the 2008-2009 photo contest - view the 2007-2008 winners to size up the future competition…
Manta Fest 2008 Wetpixel Coverage - Day 5
Yap, Micronesia is one of the best places on the planet to photograph mandarinfish, which are best known for their sunset mating ritual: a coordinated flutter up into the water column culminating in a sudden release of sperm and eggs.
Last night, seven of us went out on the dusk dive here at Manta Ray Bay Resort in the hopes of seeing mandarinfish mating activity. Unfortunately, there was no mating to be seen, but dozens of mandarinfish presented us with ample opportunity to snap portraits. Neil Rosewarn nailed the shot of the night and returned to the resort with the perfect portrait of a perfect male mandarinfish on a black background…
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