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Marine Life & Conservation

Summer Boating Safety for Manatees and Boaters Alike

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Save the Manatee Club is proud to be a partner of National Safe Boating Week, the official launch of the 2021 Safe Boating Campaign. This yearlong campaign promotes recreational boating safety, such as wearing life jackets and not boating while under the influence of alcohol. Save the Manatee Club also uses the campaign to remind boaters of manatee-safe boating tips.

During the summer, manatees are found in shallow estuaries, bays, rivers, canals, and coastal areas throughout Florida and in neighboring states – most commonly Georgia, South Carolina, and Alabama. Because imperiled manatees are generally slow-moving and must surface to breathe air, they are especially vulnerable to collisions with fast-moving watercraft. Boat accidents are the primary cause of human-related manatee deaths. According to the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC), most manatee deaths from watercraft collisions are caused by blunt-force impact, meaning that the speed at which boaters are traveling are causing strikes with deadly force. Those manatees that survive bear scars from their injuries. In fact, most living manatees have some sort of scar from a boat collision.

These tragic accidents are preventable with education, awareness, and the care of the boating community. Posted slow speed “manatee zones” indicate the likely presence of manatees and should be navigated through carefully. Boater’s guides usually list the location of manatee zones and can be reviewed before each boat trip. In addition to obeying posted speed zones, those on board should keep a lookout for manatees in the water by wearing polarized sunglasses to see below the water’s surface, and scanning for manatees’ snouts, backs, tails, flippers, or “footprints” – the flat, circular spot on the water created by the manatee’s moving tail. Following these tips, along with the Safe Boating Campaign’s guidelines, can help keep both boaters and manatees safe.

Boaters, paddlers, or those who spend time near the water are also encouraged to be a voice for manatees by immediately reporting injured, malnourished, orphaned, entangled, stranded, or dead manatees to the FWC or their local state wildlife officials. Manatees that have fresh pink or red wounds, are breathing more often than every 30 seconds, or are unable to submerge or tilting to one side, may be injured and should be reported. Boaters should not attempt to remove entanglements, such as monofilament fishing line, crab trap lines, or other marine debris, from manatees themselves – instead, they should report them so a trained biologist can assess the situation. In Florida, boaters can contact VHF Channel 16 on their marine radio or call the FWC at 1-888-404-FWCC (3922). Learn more tips on spotting and reporting sick or injured manatees at savethemanatee.org/rescue.

Save the Manatee Club offers a number of free materials available upon request to help safeguard manatees and increase awareness of manatee-safe boating tips. Shoreline property owners as well as park and marina managers can order aluminum signs alerting others to the presence of manatees in the area. And boaters and paddlers can request packets that include a safety tips card, a waterproof boat banner, and a decal to adhere to your vessel with the number to report manatees in distress. Order free materials at savethemanatee.org/resources.

Join Save the Manatee Club on FacebookInstagram, and Twitter to learn more and get involved.

Nick and Caroline (Frogfish Photography) are a married couple of conservation driven underwater photo-journalists and authors. Both have honours degrees from Manchester University, in Environmental Biology and Biology respectively, with Nick being a Fellow of the Royal Photographic Society, a former high school science teacher with a DipEd in Teaching Studies. Caroline has an MSc in Animal Behaviour specializing in Caribbean Ecology. They are multiple award-winning photographers and along with 4 published books, feature regularly in the diving, wildlife and international press They are the Underwater Photography and Deputy Editors at Scubaverse and Dive Travel Adventures. Winners of the Caribbean Tourism Organization Photo-journalist of the Year for a feature on Shark Diving in The Bahamas, and they have been placed in every year they have entered. Nick and Caroline regularly use their free time to visit schools, both in the UK and on their travels, to discuss the important issues of marine conservation, sharks and plastic pollution. They are ambassadors for Sharks4Kids and founders of SeaStraw. They are Dive Ambassadors for The Islands of The Bahamas and are supported by Mares, Paralenz, Nauticam and Olympus. To find out more visit www.frogfishphotography.com

Marine Life & Conservation

PADI and National Geographic Pristine Seas join forces to protect at least 30% of the Ocean

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In 2020, Enric Sala, founder of Pristine Seas and National Geographic Explorer-in-Residence, approached PADI with the idea to join forces to protect the ocean, combining his vision and proven track record of successfully creating MPAs with the global footprint and extensive reach of the PADI community around the globe. PADI Dive Centres and Resorts are critical stakeholders in their local economies and their leadership, together with the influence and expertise of Sala and his team at National Geographic Pristine Seas, can be a catalyst for lasting change for a return to a healthy ocean and balanced marine ecosystem.

“Ocean conservation benefits everyone, especially the diving sector. We are excited to partner with PADI and all their dive centres worldwide to foster the protection of popular dive sites all around the world,” said Enric Sala.

Initiating this partnership is a global Dive Industry Economic Evaluation Survey to measure the economic benefits of the dive industry on local communities, using data from PADI Dive Centres and Resorts in 186 countries. In cooperation with researchers at Scripps Institution of Oceanography and Simon Fraser University, this analysis will be used to inform governments how the creation of MPAs can create jobs and produce important economic outputs locally.

PADI will engage its Mission Hubs, the 6,600 Dive Centres and Resorts who are the heart of the organisation’s save the ocean mission, in a survey to provide the data necessary to complete this study. The information gathered through PADI Mission Hub participation in the survey will be an integral component of the study that will be used to influence local and national governments to establish marine protected areas and protect marine environments for divers and other stakeholders.

“PADI Mission Hubs play a critical role in our Blueprint for Ocean Action and are key stakeholders in the push for increased protection measures for the underwater world,” says Drew Richardson, President and CEO of PADI Worldwide. “Each PADI operator brings unique insights, local expertise, community leadership and passion for our ocean. By coming together as a unified force, the PADI community in partnership with National Geographic Pristine Seas will provide an unprecedented global voice to influence long-term ocean protections.”

Over the last 12 years, Pristine Seas has completed 32 expeditions around the world and helped inspire the creation of 24 marine reserves, protecting over 6.5 million square kilometers of ocean — an area more than twice the size of India. They work with local communities and governments to survey their environments, identify their goals and protect vital ocean areas.

The Dive Industry Economic Evaluation Survey will be available to PADI Dive Centres and Resorts through the remainder of the year.

To learn more about PADI’s Blueprint for Ocean Action and other ways you can join the community of PADI Torchbearers in protecting the ocean, visit padi.com/conservation.

For more information about Pristine Seas visit the website by clicking here.

All images: Courtesy of Pristine Seas, National Geographic Society

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Marine Life & Conservation

Christmas Gift Ideas for Shark Lovers

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Got a shark-mad person in your family? Struggling to find them the perfect gift this Christmas? Look no further… The Shark Trust have some perfect presents to go under the tree. And the best bit? All of them will help raise vital funds to support shark conservation.

1) Shark Trust Gift Membership

The perfect way to join an ever-growing community working together to ensure a future for sharks in our oceans. Members will receive a welcome pack of shark goodies as well as Shark Focus magazine twice a year. The perfect present for a shark-lover who does not need any more “stuff”.

2) Pups Club Gift Membership

Got a youngster who loves sharks? The Pups Club is designed to inspire the next generation. Aimed at 5-12 year olds. Pup’s Club is supported by Wildlife Presenter & Adventurer, Steve Backshall. Pups will get an A4 shark folder full of sharky goodies, as well as the bi-annual Shark Focus magazine.

3) Adopt a Shark

Adoptions make the perfect gifts. They also help fund vital shark research and campaigns. It’s a win win. There are four options: Basking Shark, Great White Shark, Whale Shark and NoLimits Sharks. Your friend or loved one will get a ‘jawsome’ adoption pack, so they can learn all about their shark.

4) Clothing

T-Shirts, tops, hoodies and even socks. There is something for every shark lover in the Shark Trust shop. Designs for kids and adults, featuring all your favourite shark species. Natural, organic, sustainable and in plastic free packaging.

5) Books

Whether it is a coffee table book full of beautiful images of sharks, or something educational the Shark Trust bookstore will give you some great ideas for gifts. It has books for adults and kids about sharks as well as other marine life.

6) Accessories

Perfect shark-themed stocking fillers such as stickers, tote bags, socks, hats and prints are also available in the Shark Trust Store.

Of course, while you are browsing all these sharky Christmas gift ideas, you might find something you would like yourself, so give yourself plenty of time so you can drop the appropriate hints!

You can find links to all these great gift ideas here: https://www.sharktrust.org/shark-lovers-gift-guide

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Competitions

Egypt | Safaga, Brothers & Elphinstone | 27 January – 04 February 2022 | Emperor Elite

Jump on board this famous Red Sea liveaboard and enjoy diving the famous wrecks of the Red Sea with this fantastic special offer.  Emperor Elite offers a contemporary living space combined with the best itineraries available in the Red Sea.

Price NOW from just £975 per person based on sharing a twin cabin including:

  • Flights from London Gatwick to Hurghada with 23kgs baggage
  • 7 nights in shared cabin
  • 3 meals a day, soft drinks, red wine with dinner
  • 6 days’ diving, guide, 12ltr tank & weights, Marine Park fees and port departure fees
  • Free Nitrox

Booking deadline: Subject to availability.

Call Diverse Travel on 01473 852002 or email info@diversetravel.co.uk.

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