Wednesday, 18 January 2012

Dive Caching @ Ocean Enterprises

A great Dive Caching game from our friends at Ocean Enterprises


Want to Win Some Awesome Prizes? Enter Our Dive Caching Contest!

So, What do the Winners Get?

Prizes Include:

  • $250 Shopping Spree at Ocean Enterprises
  • 1 10 Fill Nitrox Card
  • 3 10 Fill Air Cards
  • 4 DAN Mats
  • 5 Ocean Enterprises T-Shirts

How Do I Enter The Contest?

  1. Create a Geocaching Account at www.Geocaching.com (It's free)
    • Click on Play from toolbar
    • Select "Hide and Seek a Cache"
    • Scroll down to the bottom of the page and where it says "Hidden by Username," type in "DivecacheOE" and click the GO button.
    • Click on a Cache and follow instructions to locate
  2. You've located a Dive Cache, now what?
    • Fill out a log
    • Note the "Secret Code"
    • Trinket trade, if so desired
  3. Log Cache on Geocaching.com and post a new log.
  4. * Please DO NOT post the "Secret Code" in Comments)
    Note: Logging visit is required and will be verified
  5. Visit Ocean Enterprises in San Diego and ask for Kaylie to exchange your Code for a Game piece.
    • Create words with the Game Pieces, ranging from 3-7 letters.
      Letters can be repeated in words
    • Once you form a word, bring game pieces into Kaylie for verification. If your word is valid, you will receive a raffle ticket.
  6. Drawing to be held on Sunday, February 26th at Ocean Enterprises
  7. Note: You don't neet to be present to win.

Monday, 16 January 2012

To the rescue - Fiji Times Online

To the rescue - Fiji Times Online

A NADI resident who has been closely following the Shark Sanctuary Campaign was disgusted to find that the bodies of mutilated baby sharks are regularly on sale at the Nadi fishmarket.

Lavenia Mataitoga had been made aware of the issues with shark fishing in Fiji through The Fiji Times Save the Shark Campaign and the screenings of the Coral Reef Alliance documentary Shark Hope.
The dive operation she works for, Reef Safari Diving in Port Denarau Marina, also has an active environmental education program for all its staff led by marine biologist Maddy Carse.
Consequently when Ms Mataitoga encountered juvenile whitetip reef sharks and endangered hammerhead sharks in the market, she was outraged.
The shark defender challenged the sellers, and since then, one of them has stopped trading in sharks.
The other identified himself as a "middleman", not a fisherman.
He was selling the bodies of whitetip reef sharks, which had already had their fins cut off for the shark fin trade, for $F2 each.
Baby sharks are regularly caught in the Nadi Bay river estuaries, showing that this is a valuable breeding ground for these endangered species.
Many sharks do not breed until they are 10-15 years old, and then usually only have two to six babies.
If the babies are killed before they have a chance to reproduce, it will reduce the number of adult sharks, and the population will be destroyed.
Living sharks are vital to a healthy reef fish population and also bring millions of dollars to Fiji from tourists who come to go shark diving.
Killing them for $2 just doesn't make sense, economically or environmentally.
"The majority of divers have a high expectation of seeing sharks when diving in Fiji," says Reef Safaris general manager Andrew Cole.
"And all have a high respect for these apex creatures and for their necessity to have populations restored to true balance in order to protect the ecosystem of the marine world.
"Take away the sharks and the reputation of Fiji diving being a visual, dynamic and exciting experience has a high potential of being damaged and there are numerous other dive destinations around the world that may then be considered as holiday destinations at the expense of Fiji."
Ms Mataitoga had the courage of her convictions and spoke to the shark sellers, explaining that sharks are endangered and that they should be preserved.
She spoke out in the market and made sure her point was understood.
If we all did the same, we could stop this ugly trade very quickly.
Let's protect Fiji's sharks.
WHAT CAN YOU DO TO HELP
Any time you see sharks, shark meat or shark fin soup for sale, talk politely to the people doing it and explain why we should be protecting sharks. Or, if you prefer, just cut out the box below and give it to the person. Many people are still not aware why this is a problem, but by spreading the information, you can make a real difference, one shark at a time.
* Living sharks are important to the environment, tourism economy, and culture of Fiji.
* They are extremely vulnerable to overfishing as they grow slowly and breed at a late age and in small numbers.
* Shark fishing is not part of Fijian tradition or long-term fisheries practice.
* Please do not sell, buy or eat shark fin soup.
Become A Fiji Shark Defender!
* Helen Sykes works with shark campaigner Manoa Rasigatale and the Coral Reef Alliance, in conjunction with Pew, to create awareness and help bring about legislation for a sanctuary to protect sharks in Fiji's waters.

Global threat to manta and mobula rays


Manta report
Download report
Manta rays are so popular with divers and snorkelers that a single animal can 'earn' more than US$ 1 million over its lifetime for local eco-tourism, according to a new report issued by the Manta Ray of Hope Project. Despite their popularity and lucrative tourism value, the report provides shocking evidence that these graceful and gentle giants are rapidly disappearing due to extreme fishing pressure that is largely unknown by the general public or conservationists.

The Manta Ray of Hope Project, a joint effort of two conservation organizations, Shark Savers and WildAid, released a comprehensive report documenting worldwide manta and mobula declines due to the trade in their gills.The report, entitled "Manta Ray of Hope: The Global Threat to Manta and Mobula Rays" provides the most far-reaching research ever conducted into both the intensive overfishing of mantas and mobulas as well as the trade in their gill rakers that are driving mantas and mobulas to the point of population collapse.

Manta
Manta Ray of Hope / Shark Savers / WildAid

The destruction of ray populations is the result of demand for their gill rakers, with an estimated market value of $11 million annually. That is a fraction of the value of manta and mobula ray tourism, which is estimated at over $100 million per year, globally.

Shawn Heinrichs, Manta Ray of Hope team leader, explains, "While the gills are valuable for this trade, it is also robbing local economies and the environment of one of the most charismatic creatures in the ocean that could draw millions of dollars each year for those communities."

Lead investigator Paul Hilton added, "We first came across manta and mobula ray gills in Asian markets several years ago and followed the trail to the dried seafood markets of Southern China. It's sad to see these animals follow the same path to extinction as sharks."

Dead mantas
Manta Ray of Hope / Shark Savers / WildAid

Manta and mobula ray populations are severely impacted by any kind of targeted fishing because they have extremely limited reproductive biology. These rays can take ten or more years to reach sexual maturity and typically produce only one pup every two to three years. In comparison, even the Great White shark which is listed under CITES Appendix II and widely considered to be one of the world's most vulnerable species, may produce as many pups in one litter as a manta ray does over its entire lifetime.

As a result, every area with active fisheries directed against manta and mobula rays reports devastating and rapid declines in populations of these rays. In certain regions, such as the Sea of Cortez, the oceanic manta ray (M. birostris) has largely disappeared. The aggressive trade in gill rakers continues in several of the key range states for mobulids with the largest landings documented in Sri Lanka, India, and Indonesia.

"If action is not taken quickly, manta and mobula rays will likely face regional extinctions because of unregulated fisheries", said Michael Skoletsky, Executive Director of Shark Savers. "Anyone who has gone diving with mantas knows them to be intelligent, graceful, and engaging animals. It would be a tragedy to lose them."

Executive Director of WildAid, Peter Knights, adds that "Mantas can generate tens of millions of dollars of long term sustainable tourism revenue for less wealthy nations, or for a few million we can let them go extinct for an obscure and dubious folk cure. The economics and the moral imperative are clear - we need an immediate moratorium on gill raker trade and measures for complete protection to some populations and to reduce fishing pressure for others."

Manta gill
Manta Ray of Hope / Shark Savers / WildAid

The gills of manta and mobula rays are dried and boiled for preparation as a health tonic that is purported to treat a wide range of ailments. Yet the report's researchers did not find the gill raker remedy listed in the official Traditional Chinese Medicine manual. However, that has not prevented its use as a pseudo-medicinal tonic, driven by direct marketing to consumers by importers in Guangzhou, China, the primary destination for this trade.

The report, Manta Ray of Hope: The Global Threat to Manta and Mobula Rays highlights what is known about the remarkable biology and ecology of manta and mobula rays, explains the extreme threats they face, describes the fisheries and trade that target these rays, and offers some solutions via alternative, non-consumptive uses for communities to profit from them, sustainably. The information provided in the report will enable decision-makers to move swiftly in enacting critical protections for manta and mobula rays.

Manta Ray of Hope received support from the Silvercrest Foundation, Hrothgar Investments Ltd, and private donors.Manta Ray of Hope: The Global Threat to Manta and Mobula Rays received additional guidance and data from many of the foremost manta researchers and scientists throughout the world.

About Shark Savers: Shark Savers was founded in 2007 by six long-time divers driven by a shared passion - to save the world's dwindling shark and ray populations. Today, more than 20,000 members from 99 nations share that passion. Focusing on action and results, Shark Savers programs result in saving the lives of sharks and rays. By leveraging professional experience and expertise, Shark Savers brings this important issue to the masses in many compelling forms, motivating people to stop consuming sharks and shark fin soup, and working for the creation of shark sanctuaries and other protections. For more information, please visit www.sharksavers.org

About WildAid: WildAid focuses on addressing the human threat to wildlife. Our comprehensive approach includes public awareness campaigns and educational initiatives to reduce consumer demand for wildlife products, and working with communities to support and enforce key protected habitats around the world. For more information, please visit www.wildaid.org.

About Manta Ray of Hope Project: The Manta Ray of Hope Project is a joint initiative that includes top field investigators, leadings scientists and researchers, all working together to further the conservation of manta and mobula rays. The project was founded by Shark Savers and WildAid, with support from the Silvercrest Foundation, Hrothgar Investments, and private donors. Manta Ray of Hope is developing global conservation campaigns based on sound science, including:

  • Manta Ray of Hope: The Global Threat to Manta and Mobula Rays, a comprehensive study of the destructive fishing and consumption of Mobulids.
  • Establishment of trade bans and sanctuaries.
  • Education and awareness campaigns for consumers.
  • Ecotourism development in fishing communities.
For more information

http://www.mantarayofhope.com

Manta Ray of Hope - Documentary
Manta Ray of Hope

Friday, 6 January 2012

Matava is the Grand Diamond Prize @ The Happy Hearts Love Sharks Wedding Contest

Calling all eco-conscious couples – how would you like a honeymoon in a certified eco-resort in stunning Fiji?

By making your wedding shark-free, you can show respect to both your guests and our oceans as well as earning the opportunity to win a fabulous prize!

Enter the Happy Hearts Love Sharks - Hong Kong wedding contest now....

The Happy Hearts Love Sharks wedding contest 2012Courtesy of our fabulous grand prize sponsors, Air Pacific and Matava, we are thrilled to offer a grand prize which includes

  • Return international flights, for 2 people, from Hong Kong to Fiji’s Nadi airport*
  • Return domestic flight transfers, for 2 people, from Nadi to Kadavu island*
  • Return boat transfers from Kadavu airport to Matava, Fiji’s premier eco-adventure resort*
  • 6 night’s accommodation in an oceanview bure at Matava
  • 8 dives (4 x 2-tank morning dives) for two with Mad Fish Dive Centre, Matava’s on site PADI 5 Star Dive Centre and unlimited all day shore diving at The Critter Junction (NB. For non-divers, scuba diving package can be exchanged for other resort activities)
  • Traditional Lovo Feast and Kava ceremony
  • All meals (breakfast, lunch, dinner, unlimited tea/coffee)
  • All taxes for food/accommodation at Matava*

*Winners must pay taxes and surcharges for flights. Availability for the grand prize flights and accommodation package will be subject to blackout dates to be confirmed in the winner’s Grand Diamond Prize confirmation letter.

Enter contest now!


The Happy Hearts Love Sharks Wedding Contest

The Happy Hearts Love Sharks wedding contest was originally created in 2009 by Canadian shark conservation group Shark Truth.

Originally run purely as a Facebook competition to reward couples who had already held a shark fin free wedding, Shark Truth had 16 couples making their pledge public in the first year and 27 couples in the second – with a combined total of 10,000 bowls of shark fin soup prevented from being served.

The Happy Hearts Love Sharks wedding contest 2012

In 2011, Shark Truth gave HK Shark Foundation exclusive rights to launch a Hong Kong version of the contest.

Along with partners EcoVision Asia, the Canadian Chamber of Commerce, the Humane Society International, HKSF developed a new vision for the contest, which included extending its reach beyond purely the Facebook community, to include interested couples in China, and also targetting couples in the planning stages of their weddings so that we might influence those who had not previously considered having a shark-free wedding.

When our vision attracted the support of the sophisticated high society magazine Hong Kong Tatler and of the popular bridal publication Darizi, as well as a sea of awesome prize sponsorships, we knew we had something special to offer. And so the Hong Kong edition of Happy Hearts Love Sharks was born…

Pledge to make your wedding shark-free and enter the contest now!

The Cause

By making your wedding shark-free, you can help keep our oceans in harmony.

Humans need healthy oceans

Our oceans are a precious natural resource that should be conserved for future generations. They are a valuable source of food and livelihoods and play an important role in regulating our climate (about half of the oxygen we breathe every day is generated through the photosynthesis of tiny oceanic organisms called marine phytoplanktons!).

Healthy oceans need healthy shark populations

Sharks play a vital role in maintaining the delicate balance of our marine ecosystems. As apex predators, sharks sit at the top of the marine food chain and help regulate the abundance and diversity of the marine life beneath them. Declining shark populations have a direct impact on the health of our oceans.

Sharks need people to say NO to shark fin!

Unsustainable demand for the Chinese delicacy Shark Fin Soup is causing a crisis in our oceans. The fins of up to 73 million sharks are thought to be traded each year – that’s 200,000 sharks per day! Along with habitat destruction, such massive overfishing has caused the dramatic decline of many shark populations, with some dwindling by up to 90%. According to the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN), around one third of all shark species are now threatened or near threatened with extinction. Extinction is forever so, please, make your wedding shark-free now.

Enter the competition now.

For more information, please visit the FAQs on the HK Shark Foundation’s website.

Why say NO to shark fin

Shark-free weddings are sophisticated and environmentally conscious and, by serving a suitable alternative to shark fin soup, you can both respect your guests and our oceans.

Shark Finning is cruel, wasteful and unsustainable

When sharks are ‘finned’, the shark is pulled onto the boat, its fins are sliced off and its body is thrown back into the ocean. Although incredibly wasteful, the fishermen do this because the fins are the most valuable part of the shark and, by only storing the fins, the fishermen can catch many more sharks than if they had to store the bodies on board too – this is partly why the practice of shark-finning is so environmentally unsustainable.

Many people also condemn shark-finning because it is cruel. The sharks are usually still alive when thrown back overboard. They are unable to breathe because, without their fins, they cannot swim and pass water over their gills so, instead, they sink to the sea bed where they slowly suffocate.

Shark fin soup: All symbol, no substance.

Shark fins are prized because of the high demand for the Chinese delicacy known as Shark Fin Soup.

Traditionally, only emperors and the wealthy elite ate shark fin soup. Today, however, shark fin is a widely affordable luxury, thanks to the rising mass affluence in China and the global growth of industrialized fishing methods. Now, shark fin soup is a standard feature of Chinese banqueting menus and serving it is seen as a symbol of wealth and of respect for guests.

Interestingly, the shark fins have no taste and no nutritional or medicinal value on their own. All of the soup’s taste and goodness comes from the stock, which is normally made from chicken. The fins are added partly to give texture but mainly as a status symbol – and status is no reason to fish a species to extinction.

Enter the competition now and pledge to have your wedding shark-free.

For more information, please visit the FAQs on the HK Shark Foundation’s website.

Enter contest now!

Calling all sophisticated bridal couples! By making your wedding shark-free, you can show respect to both your guests and our oceans as well as earning the opportunity to win a fabulous prize! Enter the Happy Hearts Love Sharks - Hong Kong wedding contest now....

Links

Matava is the Grand Diamond Prize @ The Happy Hearts Love Sharks Wedding Contest