Friday, 26 June 2009

Third of open ocean sharks threatened with extinction

Gland, Switzerland, June 25, 2009 (IUCN) – The first study to determine the global conservation status of 64 species of open ocean (pelagic) sharks and rays reveals that 32 percent are threatened with extinction, primarily due to overfishing, according to the IUCN Shark Specialist Group.
The percentage of open ocean shark species threatened with extinction is higher for the sharks taken in high-seas fisheries (52 percent), than for the group as a whole.  
“Despite mounting threats, sharks remain virtually unprotected on the high seas,” says Sonja Fordham, Deputy Chair of the IUCN Shark Specialist Group and Policy Director for the Shark Alliance. “The vulnerability and lengthy migrations of most open ocean sharks call for coordinated, international conservation plans. Our report documents serious overfishing of these species, in national and international waters, and demonstrates a clear need for immediate action on a global scale.”
The report comes days before Spain hosts an international summit of fishery managers responsible for high seas tuna fisheries in which sharks are taken without limit. It also coincides with an international group of scientists meeting in Denmark to formulate management advice for Atlantic porbeagle sharks.
IUCN experts classify Great Hammerhead (Sphyrna mokarran) and Scalloped Hammerhead (Sphyrna lewini) sharks, as well as Giant Devil Rays (Mobula mobular), as globally Endangered. Smooth Hammerheads (Sphyrna zygaena), Great White (Carcharodon carcharias), Basking (Cetorhinus maximus) and Oceanic Whitetip (Carcharhinus longimanus) sharks are classed as globally Vulnerable to extinction, along with two species of Makos (Isurus spp.) and three species of Threshers (Alopias spp.).
Porbeagle Sharks (Lamna nasus) are classified as globally Vulnerable, but Critically Endangered and Endangered in the Northeast and Northwest Atlantic, respectively. The Blue Shark (Prionace glauca), the world’s most abundant and heavily fished open ocean shark, is classified as Near Threatened.
Many open ocean sharks are taken mainly in high seas tuna and swordfish fisheries. Once considered only incidental “bycatch”, these species are increasingly targeted due to new markets for shark meat and high demand for their valuable fins, used in the Asian delicacy shark fin soup. To source this demand, the fins are often cut off sharks and the rest of the body is thrown back in the water, a process known as “finning”. Finning bans have been adopted for most international waters, but lenient enforcement standards hamper their effectiveness.
Sharks are particularly sensitive to overfishing due to their tendency to take many years to mature and have relatively few young. In most cases, pelagic shark catches are unregulated or unsustainable. Twenty-four percent of the species examined are categorized as Near Threatened, while information is insufficient to assess another 25 percent. 
The report is based partially on an IUCN Shark Specialist Group workshop funded by the Lenfest Ocean Program. Fifteen experts from government agencies, universities, non-governmental organizations, and institutions around the world took part.  This and other regional workshops have contributed to the development of the Shark Specialist Group’s Global Shark Red List Assessment, supported by Conservation International and the New Hampshire Charitable Foundation.
“The completion of this global assessment of pelagic sharks and rays will provide an important baseline for monitoring the status of these keystone species in our oceans,” says Roger McManus, Vice-President for Marine Programs at Conservation International.
The IUCN Shark Specialist Group calls on governments to set catch limits for sharks and rays based on scientific advice and the precautionary approach. It further urges governments to fully protect Critically Endangered and Endangered species of sharks and rays, ensure an end to shark finning and improve the monitoring of fisheries taking sharks and rays. Governments should invest in shark and ray research and population assessment, minimize incidental bycatch of sharks and rays, employ wildlife treaties to complement fisheries management and facilitate cooperation among countries to conserve shared populations, according to the group.
For more information, or to set up interviews, please contact:
Notes to editors
  • The full report, The Conservation Status of Pelagic Sharks and Rays: Report of the IUCN Shark Specialist Group Pelagic Shark Red List Workshop, can be downloaded here It was compiled and edited by Merry Camhi, Sarah Valenti, Sonja Fordham, Sarah Fowler and Claudine Gibson.
  • This week, scientists from the International Council for Exploration of the Sea (ICES) and the International Commission for the Conservation of Atlantic Tunas (ICCAT) are meeting in Copenhagen to assess all Atlantic porbeagle populations and formulate recommendations for fishery managers.
  • Next week, San Sebastian, Spain will be the site of the second Joint Meeting of the five Regional Fishery Management Organizations (RFMOs) for tuna.

Thursday, 25 June 2009

$863 -- Fiji from Los Angeles (Roundtrip), incl. Taxes

$863 -- Fiji from Los Angeles (Roundtrip), incl. Taxes* new

Fiji from Los Angeles

Top 20 deal - sells out quickly!

Travel dates: June 10 - Dec. 30

Fares to Fiji from Los Angeles have been slashed to an amazing price of $863 roundtrip, including taxes. This fare is available for travel June 10 - Dec. 30 on Air Pacific to Nadi on Fiji's the main island of Viti Levu.

This sale ends July 14.

Click here to purchase tickets directly with Air Pacific. Look for the "Get Packing" fare at a base fare of $565. Final price will include approximately $298 in taxes and fees.

Find International Airfare, Airline Tickets, and More | Travelzoo

Saturday, 20 June 2009

Striped Mackerel on Great Astrolabe Reef Kadavu, Fiji

Very funny and weird fish!

Project AWARE: Photo Contest Turns Lenses Toward Ocean Conservation

Photo Contest Turns Lenses Toward Ocean Conservation

Scuba divers and ocean enthusiasts give it their best eco shot in this unique contest



Grand prize package includes stay at Matava eco resort destination, Fiji.

Rancho Santa Margarita, Calif., June 6—Project AWARE Foundation and SeaWeb’s Marine Photobank are again joining forces to host the second annual photo contest to encourage photographers to turn their lenses in a different direction. The Ocean in Focus Conservation Photography Contest launching on World Ocean Day, June 8, seeks entries that show impacts on marine environments and inspire conservation actions.

Photographers of all experience levels—including conservationists, scientists, divers, travelers and students—are encouraged to vie for the Grand Prize: a diving vacation that includes a seven-night stay at Matava - Fiji’s Premier Eco-Adventure Resort. Prizes also include sterling silver coral-inspired necklaces from Hannah Garrison, beautiful Bob Talbot prints, carbon offsets from NativeEnergy and more.

Photographers with an environmental eye will compete for prizes in two contest categories: Species of Concern/Ecosystem Decline and Humans and the Ocean: Impacts and Solutions. These images will help researchers, educators and non-governmental organizations depict and address ocean issues.

“As AWARE divers, we have a personal relationship with underwater environments and often see damage to underwater ecosystems,” said Jenny Miller Garmendia. “But we are also often part of the solution by participating in ongoing conservation projects around the world. This photo contest gives divers and water enthusiasts opportunities to tell these conservation stories through powerful imagery.”

“This photo contest is geared toward advancing ocean conservation through the power of imagery,” said SeaWeb President Dawn M. Martin. “There are many problems to be addressed in the ocean. Anyone who holds a camera in their hand has the power to change the hearts and minds of people around them through the images they capture and the inspiration those images can provide.”

The contest, beginning June 8, 2009, will accept photo entries through August 27, 2009. Partner organizations and sponsors for this year’s contest aim to inspire high-quality images that deliver powerful conservation messages and help illuminate the challenges facing our oceans. For complete contest submission details visit

Project AWARE

Tuesday, 16 June 2009

Sharks at Eagle Rock, Kadavu, Fiji

Great wee video of the sharks schooling at Eagle Rock!

Saturday, 13 June 2009

Facebook | Username

Starting NOW, you can choose a username for your Facebook account to easily direct friends, family, and coworkers to your profile.

To select your username, visit the link NOW:

To learn more about usernames, visit the Help Center:

Sink Faze Movie Finalist at BLUE Ocean Film Festival

Sink Faze, the movie, is a finalist at the ongoing BLUE Ocean Film Festival in Savannah, Georgia. Sink Faze is coming off recent festival wins at the Honolulu International Film Festival and the Mexico International Film Festival. The movie was also recently honored by being featured in the first of a series of monthly cultural art showcases known as RAW: Natural Born Artists in Los Angeles, CA.
Sink Faze ( and is shot in high definition and in a non-traditional conversationally driven format, the film features the lives of four athletes as they pursue their goals to set national and world records in freediving. The film features Martin Stepanek, Mandy-Rae Cruickshank, George “Doc” Lopez, Kirk Krack, and David Blaine training for his Drowned Alive stunt.
Mandy-Rae and Kirk are the freedivers featured in the Sundance and Hot Docs Audience Award winning film The Cove ( and The Cove is also a finalist at BLUE and nominated for Best in Festival.
Sink Faze is a low budget film and is the first feature of award winner director Grant W. Graves. Grant said, “I am so happy that Sink Faze is being recognized by BLUE. It is an honor just to be selected for this prestigious event, but to be a finalist and have a chance to win is even more amazing. Everyone here has been so supportive of the film and the ocean environment.” Sink Faze will screen on the final day of the event, Sunday, June 14, 2009 at the Marshall House at 11:30 am with a presentation by the director about freediving to proceed the screening (
BLUE Ocean Film Festival (, a global film and conservation event, is ongoing from June 11-14, 2009. The purpose of the event is to honor, promote and share films that inspire people to protect our oceans and the life within. BLUE is providing an intimate venue where ocean filmmakers can interact with leaders in the oceans conservation, broadcasting and research fields, lending support to the filmmakers who provide a critical role in educating and empowering the public.
Key to the event is the BLUE Ocean Film Festival awards competition, honoring films that further ocean conservation, exploration and science, or promote interaction with our seas on any level. Given this is the first industry film festival and awards competition in the Unites States that is dedicated to oceans; BLUE’s finalists represent one of the greatest collections of ocean films in the world. All finalist films are being screened during the four-day industry event, which is being held simultaneously with BLUE’s Community Film Festival in Savannah.
Among the ocean conservation, science, broadcast and film leaders participating in BLUE are:
• DR. SYLVIA EARLE, Explorer-in-Residence National Geographic
• STRATTON LEOPOLD, Hollywood Producer (Mission Impossible III)
• FABIEN COUSTEAU, Ocean Explorer/Filmmaker
• CELINE COUSTEAU, Ocean Explorer/Filmmaker
• PAUL GASEK, Discovery Channel/Science Channel
• KEENAN SMART, National Geographic Television
• STEVE BURNS, National Geographic Channel
• CARTER FIGUEROA, History Channel
• DAN BASTA, National Marine Sanctuaries System
• GEORGE SEDBERRY, Gray's Reef National Marine Sanctuary
• GREGORY D. BOSSART, V. M. D., Ph. D., Georgia Aquarium
• JOINT OCEANS COMMISSION, State of Our Oceans Panel
• GREG STONE, Ph.D., New England Aquarium
• EMORY KRISTOF, National Geographic Filmmaker/Photographer
• TOM CAMPBELL, Underwater HD Cinematographer
• BRIAN SKERRY, National Geographic Photographer
• MICHELE WESTMORLAND, Underwater Photographer
• CHRIS PALMER, American University, Center for Environmental Studies
• CRISTINA MITTERMIER, International League of Conservation Photographers
• GREG MARSHALL, National Geographic/Executive Producer and Remote Imaging
Freediving is a sport that challenges athletes to perform while holding their breath underwater in disciplines for maximum time, depth, and distance. Athletes have reached times in excess of eleven minutes, distances over two football fields, and depths greater than seven hundred feet. Blogs - Grant MySpace Blog

Thursday, 11 June 2009

Manifesto: Denouncing Discovery Communications for Victimizing Sharks for Profit - The Petition Site

Since 1987, Discovery Channel has annually presented 'Shark Week.' This week-long series of programs featuring sharks claims to present facts about sharks, and its popularity has earned the company billions of dollars. In reality, Discovery uses sharks for the horror-show effect that draws a wide audience. Shark Week dramatizes shark attacks, blood and the animals' unusual dentition, to frighten viewers.

We call for an International boycott of all of Shark Week's programs until Discovery Communications stops using sharks dishonestly for profit in horror shows, and starts presenting them as the important marine animals that they are, now in danger of extinction.

Manifesto: Denouncing Discovery Communications for Victimizing Sharks for Profit - The Petition Site

Tuesday, 9 June 2009

Roddenberrry Dive Team

Roddenberry Dive Team

Los Angeles, CA - Roddenberry Productions announces the formation of the new Roddenberry Dive Team. The Roddenberry Dive Team's mission is commitment to the promotion of education, exploration and stewardship of our oceans through safe diving activities. As a leader in the science fiction industry, RDT is passionate about incorporating the philanthropic ideals embedded in Star Trek into real world experiences for divers and non-divers around the world. We are committed to carrying on the legacy of vision and optimism that was handed down by Star Trek creator, Gene Roddenberry.

Founder and President, Eugene "Rod" Roddenberry is the only son of Gene & Majel Roddenberry and is an avid scuba diver who has worked for many years helping to support programs aimed at the education, exploration and stewardship of the oceans. Greg Martin, Executive Director of the Roddenberry Dive Team is also an active diver who has spent years introducing people to scuba diving.

The similarities between space exploration and ocean exploration are striking. While only a fraction of the earth's population will ever have the opportunity of going into outer space, just about anyone can learn to scuba dive and explore the strange new worlds of the oceans. With 94% of the oceans unexplored there is ample opportunity to help make a difference.

The Roddenberry Dive Team is for divers and non-divers alike. Like the international notoriety of Star Trek, the Dive Team will be conducting dives and educational programs around the world designed to get more people involved in scuba diving and to teach them how to preserve our precious oceans.

Memberships will be available beginning in June 2009 and more information is available on the Dive Team's web site,

Only a handful of people will ever get to explore outer space but almost everyone can learn to scuba dive and boldly explore the underwater universe!

Roddenberrry Dive Team | Announcements

Monday, 8 June 2009

2008 World Dive Guide | Scuba Diving Magazine

Saying sharks are revered here would be an understatement. Not only are they the proverbial bread and butter for some dive operators in this 300-island country, but also in native Fijian folklore, there's a god, Dakuwaqa, who takes the form of a shark. Beqa Lagoon, on the Coral Coast of the island of Viti Levu, has long established itself as the Pacific's shark diving capital, where as many as eight different species freely swim. While diving well-known sites on the Great Astrolabe Reef near the island of Kadavu--the world's fourth-largest barrier reef--it's possible to spot schools of upward of 30 gray reef sharks on a single dive and, dive pros have discovered, there's a hammerhead site off of Kadavu's northern shores. Stuart Gow, of Matava Eco-Adventure Resort, raves about another rarely dived site where sharks abound, Magic Roundabout.

"It's a newfound reef jutting out from the edge of the Great Astrolabe Reef at 60 feet," Gow says. "It's attracting lots of pelagics that just circle around and around."

But with its soft corals and population of manta rays, humpback whales, turtles, titan triggerfish and even ghost pipefish, Fiji isn't only about sharks, diving one island or one barrier reef. Whether on a live-aboard plying Bligh Water between Viti Levu and its island neighbor to the north, Vanua Levu, or hopscotching by plane from those islands to others, like Taveuni, Gau, Ovalau and Kadavu, or plunging into the Great Astrolabe or the Namena Barrier Reef, there's no shortage of unforgettable diving.

"Fiji has 90 percent of the biodiversity found in Indonesia, but has much greater abundance of life," says Rob Barrel, of the live-aboard vessel Nai'a and a 15-yearFiji dive veteran. "Different times of year and moon phases and even different wind or tide direction will make familiar sites new again."

Fiji is also legendary for its friendly and welcoming indigenous culture and the cultural contributions from generations of South Asians who also call these islands home. On Viti Levu, it's not uncommon to visit a rustic village for a kava-drinking ceremony and see traditional dances by day, then by night eat Indian roti bread and curry and take in a "Bollywood" film. The pace of life on the outlying islands and villages is far more leisurely than the bustle of the capital city, Suva.

2008 World Dive Guide | Scuba Diving Magazine

SCUBA Show 2009 a Great Success

10,202 people attended THE Diving Event of the Year! in Long Beach, California this past weekend

Even though the economy is rough, SCUBA Show 2009 managed to bring in impressive numbers to it’s 22nd annual show. With over 300 exhibitor booths, and over 10,000 people attending, the SCUBA Show was a success for everyone involved.

Here’s what people have said:

The show was awesome. We measured people and the orders have already started coming in.” – Susan Long, DUI

“Advertising and marketing of the show was excellent and made the attendance that much better. Great job with that.” – Sandy Everett, Continental Airlines

“Saturday was one of the busiest days I've even seen at ‘any’ consumer show. The quality and quantity of the attendees was excellent! Great job and see ya in 2010!” – John Boozer, Atlantis Dive Resorts Philippines

“I was very surprised with the number of attendants due to economy.” - Judi Hartwick, Poseidon Dive Adventures

“Number of attendees a big plus!” – Mike Elliott, XIT 404

The SCUBA Show staff would like to thank everyone who helped make the show a great success. SCUBA Show 2010 will take place May 15 & 16 at The Long Beach Convention Center. Visit for more details.

From Divenewswire

PADI Courses Meet Latest ISO Standards

Important international standards help maintain quality and consistency.

Two new ISO Standards have just been agreed for diving. ISO (International Organization for Standardization) is a global body with 161 member countries who aim to align their national business practices with those agreed in ISO standards for various fields.

Six ISO standards for diving have been in place for several years already, equating in the PADI system to PADI Scuba Diver, Open Water Diver, Divemaster, Assistant Instructor, Open Water Scuba Instructor and Dive Center/Resort. The two new standards equate to the PADI Discover Scuba Diving programme and Enriched Air Diver course.

These two new standards are designated as follows in the ISO system:

- Requirements for training programmes on enriched air nitrox (EAN) diving (ISO 11107)

- Requirements for introductory training programmes to scuba diving (ISO 11121)

When PADI members conduct an Enriched Air Diver course or run a Discover Scuba Diving program, they can also claim to meet the requirements of these ISO standards. This can be a major advantage when dealing with customers, travel operators and even local governments, as ISO is seen as an independent standard of quality.

For more details of ISO member countries, visit:


About PADI:

PADI (Professional Association of Diving Instructors) is the world’s largest recreational diving membership organisation. The membership includes dive businesses, resort facilities, academic institutions, instructor trainers, dive educators, divers, snorkelers and other watersports enthusiasts. Professional PADI Members (dive centres, resorts, educational facilities, instructors, assistant instructors and divemasters) teach the vast majority of the world’s recreational divers, issuing over 1,000,000 certifications each year. PADI Professionals make underwater exploration and adventure accessible to the public while maintaining the highest industry standards for dive training, safety and customer service.


Saturday, 6 June 2009


National Geographic Television International (NGTI) today announces that it has acquired almost 20 hours of new programming from deals with four independent producers – two of which are new business partners.

Science title Catching Cancer (1 x 52) is being produced by Australia’s December Films, in association with Pemberton Films for ABC Australia. This fascinating programme asks whether cancer can be ‘caught’ and sets off on a global pursuit of infectious cancers, as well as the tools being developed to protect people. Using evocative computer animation, a cancer cell is tracked over its epic journey from ‘birth’ to ultimate domination and the rules of the cancer ‘lottery’ and the impact of germs are also revealed.

The second producer partner new to NGTI is underwater specialists Liquid Motion Film. Water Colours (3 x 50/6 x 25) is a new series filmed in the South Pacific, close to Liquid Motion’s base, and provides a pioneering breakthrough in communication between underwater species. Capturing spectacular images, it uncovers the truth about exactly how fish see and manipulate colours – and each other – in their world. Water Colours has already collected more than 20 international awards during its production, including Best Film at the Santa Barbara Ocean Film Festival and a Merit of Excellence at Celebrate the Sea Film Festival in Australia.

When Weather Changed History – Series 2 (14 x 47) is a new acquisition from US-based Towers Productions. Produced for the Weather Channel in the US, this innovative series investigates the impact of the weather on some notable events in history, including the D-Day Invasion in 1944, the sinking of the Titanic and the atomic bombing of Nagasaki. NGTI currently represents the first series of When Weather Changed History, in addition to a range of other Towers Productions factual titles.

Long-standing partner Essential Television & Film, based in the UK, brings a new ethnography title to the NGTI catalogue – Pokot: Male Circumcision Ceremonies (1 x 52). This extraordinary film will allow viewers to witness rituals that have never before been seen on film. Every 10 to 30 years (depending on issues such as drought or tribal warring) the Pokot people of Kenya hold their male circumcision ceremonies – where all uncircumcised men and boys come together for the most important celebration in their culture. With exclusive access, several initiates are followed through this mysterious month-long ceremony as they undergo dramatic days of communal discipline, lessons in manhood and Pokot sacred rituals.

Chris Fletcher, acting head of acquisitions and co-productions at NGTI comments: “The acquisitions market is extremely competitive at the moment but the National Geographic brand, coupled with our long-standing reputation in factual sales, continues to attract leading independent producers from around the world. I am delighted to welcome the intriguing new titles from Liquid Motion and December Films to our catalogue – and am happy that Essential Television & Film and Towers Productions continue to provide us with such excellent programming to represent.”

National Geographic News

Monday, 1 June 2009

Fiji School Children singing at The Scuba Show 30th May 2009

Great video of the Fiji School Children singing at The Scuba Show 30th May 2009