410 MEPs sign shark finning declaration Photo

410 MEPs sign shark finning declaration

As of 15 December 410 MEPs have now signed the Written Declaration on shark finning. This is well over the 369 signatures we needed for a simple majority and the Written Declaration will be announced in the next plenary session of the European Parliament. All of you who wrote to the MEPs did make a difference. It is important to point out how much of an impact this legislation can make: one in three of shark fins in the trade are from EU registered boats. This may, in effect, stop this and potentially reduce the supply by one-third.

It is also unfortunately necessary to sound a note of caution on two fronts. Firstly, this means that the we still have a long road to go until we have legislation that forces boats to land the full shark (and makes the trade uneconomic). We need to keep the motivation and pressure up to make this happen. We have proved that we can make a difference with the legislators in Europe, so let’s keep doing so. Secondly, cutting supply is only one part. The hardest task is to cut demand, and this ultimately is where the survival of sharks will rest. Please add your support campaigns like Sharksavers’ “I pledge”.

Against all this, this is possibly the best Christmas present possible: A potential to reduce this heinous trade. Thank you all!

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LAUPS announces results of 2010 Competition Photo

LAUPS announces results of 2010 Competition

The Los Angeles Underwater Photographic Society (LAUPS) has announced the results of its forty-eighth International Underwater Photographic Competition. The 2010 competition was judged by Eric Cheng, Jason Bradley and Berkeley White and the overall winner was Todd Winner with his portfolio of cage diving images.

Once again, Wetpixel members were well represented in the placings and many congratulations to all the winners. LAUPS has hosted a gallery with all the winning images.

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North Mariana Islands outlaws shark fin trade Photo

North Mariana Islands outlaws shark fin trade

Sharksavers reports that the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands (CNMI) Senate has voted to outlaw the shark fin trade. The original bill was introduced by Representative Diego Tenorio Benavente into the CNMI House of Representatives, where it was approved on November 17th. The bill need to be reconciled and a slightly different version approved by the House before being signed into law by Governor Benigno R. Fitial.

The landmark bill recognizes sharks to be “an essential element of the ocean’s ecosystem” because of their role as apex predator of the sea. It seeks to stop the severe over-fishing of sharks that occurs worldwide to feed the demand for shark fin soup. The bill makes it “unlawful for any person to possess, sell, offer for sale, trade, or distribute shark fins in the CNMI”. The bill is similar to that recently passed in the State of Hawaii. If signed into law, the CNMI will join another Pacific island nation, Palau, which has also taken a legislative stance to protect sharks.

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Work-around allows Panasonic GH2 to shoot 3D video Photo

Work-around allows Panasonic GH2 to shoot 3D video

The new Panasonic LUMIX GH2 does not allow users to shoot 3D video with the LUMIX 3D lens. However, videos have been posted on YouTube (Red/Cyan glasses necessary), showing the GH2 shooting 3D video. The work-around seems to be a simple one; cover the lens’s electrical contacts with tape or piece of paper.

Full instructions are as follows: First, enable shoot without lens in the main menu. Then put tape or a small wedge of thin paper over the contacts of the 3D lens. Attach the lens, and the camera will run normally but the lens seems to be delivering a proper stereoscopic image from it’s dual lenses.

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Ocean Art competition winners announced Photo

Ocean Art competition winners announced

The Ocean Art competition, organized by Underwater Photography Guide, has announced it’s winners for 2010. Judges this year included Chris Newbert, Martin Edge, Marty Snyderman, and Bonnie Pelnar, and the competition will award some $67,000 worth of prizes.

Keri Wilk was awarded best of show and once again, it is great to see so many Wetpixel members in the results. Many congratulations to all the winners.

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US Coast Guard airlifts turtles to safety Photo

US Coast Guard airlifts turtles to safety

After a few months of record sea turtle strandings in Massachusetts and many hours caring for these animals, the New England Aquarium’s Marine Animal Rescue Team was itself “rescued” by the United States Coast Guard. After a special request for help, the U.S. Coast Guard airlifted 20 Kemp’s Ridley sea turtles from the New England Aquarium to a rehabilitation center at SeaWorld, Orlando, Florida. The turtles were transported from the Aquarium’s Rescue Center to Hanscom AFB, where they were loaded into a Coast Guard C-144A Ocean Sentry aircraft and flown to Florida.

All the turtles arrived safely and will be rehabilitated before being released back into the wild. (All images by US Coast Guard).

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Sony launches SD memory card range Photo

Sony launches SD memory card range

Sony has announced the release of a series of SD cards, comprising three ranges: Expert, Experience and Essential. The last two both have Class 4 transfer rates of up to 15MB/s, whilst the Expert series has a rate of 22MB/s (Class 10). They are available in capacities from 2GB to 8GB in the Essential range, 2GB to 32GB in the Experience and from 8GB to 32GB in the Expert range. Sony’s File Rescue HD software shipped with the Experience and Expert ranges, can retrieve or repair damaged or deleted AVCHD movies recorded with any brand of camera/camcorder as well as JPEG, MPEG-1 and MP4 files.

Sony expects that the cards will be available January 2011. Prices have not been announced yet.

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Eric and Pam get married Photo

Eric and Pam get married

On December 10, 2010, Wetpixel publisher Eric Cheng and Pam and were married at San Francisco City Hall with their siblings as witnesses. They both have expressed their thanks to their friends for their love and support and said that:

“Even though our elopement only included mostly family (and not even our parents!), you were all in our thoughts.”

I’m sure all Wetpixel members will join me in wishing them heartfelt congratulations, long life, joy and happiness together. Photographs of the happy couple were taken by Adam Tow and Rae Chang.

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