The short film, *Baja*, was recently awarded the 2013 Stan Waterman Award for Excellence in Underwater Videography, a part of the Beneath the Sea (BTS) imaging contest. The filmmaker describes his project as being:
“Finally completed after a year of hard work and dedication, it was made to show and share with you the amazing and beautiful creatures that inhabit its waters. These beauties are still there, but most threatened. Many fish stocks have been depleted due to uncontrolled illegal fishing worldwide, especially in breeding and marine protected areas. Sharks are key species on our planet that regulate marine ecosystems, maintaining healthy populations and good gene flow, if they are removed from the seas would cause an alarming unbalance in all marine ecosystems.
Unfortunately shark populations worldwide are being systematically destroyed due to demand from Asian countries to produce ¨shark fin soup” and other shark derivatives, supposedly pseudo-medicinal and aphrodisiacs.
Every year, more than 70 million sharks are killed to produce the shark fin soup. Mantas, which have roamed the ocean for over 150 million years and are a kind close to the heart of each and every diver who cares about the future of our ocean, are increasingly endangered and yet we are witnessing the ecocide. Demand of Asian medicine markets for gill rakers or internal structures that Mantarays use to absorb oxygen from the sea and also they filter plankton on which they feed, has increased dramatically, leading to countless deaths. The gruesome and cruel destruction of these gentle creatures is unnecessary, tragic and extremely alarming. It is imperative that we act quickly to protect marine species populations that still prevail before it’s too late, there is still time to act and it is our responsibility if we don´t want these beauties disappear, if we want our children also get to know them.”
Awareness is up to you.