PWB Series: Love The Oceans

PWB Series: Love The Oceans

And this is my house. Whether you live inland in an urban area or by the coast, the ocean is integral to you functioning as a human being. A huge portion of the world’s population depends on fish as a protein source. So, if we don’t look after the oceans a huge amount of the world will starve. While I was here, I saw my first shark killing and that had a very big emotional effect on me, so I spent about two days super angry. I had lots of emotions but anger was the predominant feeling. And I was angry at the fisherman that were doing the initial killing. The more I thought about it, the more I realized that it wasn’t them I was angry at. The reason they were killing the shark was to get the fins, and that was the fin industry as a whole that I needed to direct my anger at. And then I wanted to know how bad that situation was here. So, yes, killing that one shark was sad, but if they’re doing that on a daily basis that then becomes a problem for the shark population as a whole and the biodiversity of the area as a whole and the entire marine ecosystem. It’s a very special part of the country where you can see humpback whales, mantas, whale sharks. So, it is really important that they succeed in establishing this protected area. And the way that they are going about it is by trying to create something that’s community-lead, community-fostered – which requires, of course, helping people establish a connection to the ocean and to the life within it. Our ultimate goal here in Mozambique is to have the area we operate in declared as a marine protected area. However, in order for that to happen and be successful, one of the key things we need is a community that has capability. That’s across a broad range of skill sets that are required. From things like being able to operate an ecotourism facility or set of facilities. In order to be able to support the community and transition the community away from unsustainable practices, in particular, unsustainable fishing practice. In an area where we’ve got about 70% unemployment, so you’re providing a lot of different sources of income for a lot of people in the area through an ecotourism-based approach and it’s a sustainable income as well. By having a multi-pronged approach you’ve multiple reasons why marine protected area would be good, and you’re equipping the community to manage it so it becomes much more financially feasible. When I saw those humpback whales breaching all around us, there were about sixteen of them, just hopping and playing and fin waving and slapping and, they’re like twenty feet from the boat, it was breathtaking. And these are the things I want people to see through my photos and experience through my photos. Because I know that many people won’t get these opportunities, but we can develop an appreciation through the lens. For me what’s important when I’m photographing wildlife is maintaining ethics at all times. And so that means not altering the behaviour of the wildlife by keeping a certain distance and not engaging in any activities that bait and lure wildlife to you. That’s why this job requires a lot of patience. It just takes time and it’s important that we also have a sense and a grasp on what we are presenting to the world. I’m a marine biologist so science is integral to what we do and our aims as an organization. So, we do coral reef surveys, fisheries surveys, ocean trash surveys, and humpback whale surveys. So, the fisheries research is to prove the current methods of fishing are unsustainable, the coral reef research is to prove that what we have is worth protecting. We measure absolutely everything that comes up in the fisheries catch and we are doing that to look at the suitability of the catches and reasons and ways to improve reef health. And obviously, with improved reef health has higher biodiversity, comes more tourism and then more money for local community and ultimately, it’s an upward positive spiral. The ocean trash research is quite a new area of research that we’re doing, but we are doing lots of beach cleans and clear ups and dives anyway and so we figured we might as well log it and we can work out if it’s international trash or local trash. We are on the edge of the Indian Ocean garbage patch where we are, so we’ve a lot of international trash washing up on our shores. And, I would say more, from our research, more international trash than local trash and I think that shocks them to realize that a bottle that went in in Indonesia has washed up on our shores. And we see people change their attitudes towards waste disposal as a result of their time with us. So, one of the reasons we find bigger bottles like this is A they’re being dropped off the huge fishing vessels that go past here and also the gillnet fishermen that fish here use empty plastic bottles as floats for their gillnets to keep them out in the water. That’s also one of the reason we find flip-flops and shoes, they are also being used as floats for their gillnets. So that’s about 1.9 kg of ocean trash we have managed to remove in less than an hour. It’s pretty scary. Love The Oceans sponsors two schools in the community by providing classrooms and education but they also teach about marine biology and conservation. The first thing when you go the schools is you see these beautiful murals of whale sharks and underwater wildlife and the classrooms are all brightly decorated with like, the planets and the solar system. It’s really amazing how, just by embedding those concepts at an early age, you can really shift perspectives on the ocean. That has instilled a fear in the local community of the sea and what is in the sea as well. So we take the top five kids from each class every week and we teach five classes so that’s around twenty-five kids and we do the free swimming lessons on the weekends. For the community here to appreciate the asset they have under the water they have to get to know it and currently, nobody in the community swims that well. Nobody here in the community dives and they have spectacular diving asset off the coast here. So, in order for a community to be able to fall in love and want to protect this amazing asset that it has, they have to be able to experience it, they have to be able to see it. Are you going to swim? From where to where? From the beginning to the end and I’m going to time you. Do you want to see how fast you are? Seven seconds. By teaching young people how to swim we can teach them how to snorkel, we can teach them how to dive, we can teach them how to operate boats. And then a set of industries come off the back of that. If you’ve got a young person who can swim, then they can learn how to surf. You’ve got a community around that that can build up an industry, even if it’s just a micro-industry of people who can build surfboards, can fix surfboards and then you provide that opportunity , for people to come and stay, teach surfing. In general, whenever I’m doing storytelling I think it’s really important to know that you are not giving anyone a voice, you’re amplifying voices. For me, that’s always been an integral part of why I do what I do. It’s not about me as a photographer, it’s about the people that I’m working with, about the organizations that I’m uplifting. My goal is for people to stop and stare long enough to maybe read the captions, see those calls to action and decide to take any form of action, whether it’s changing their attitude, changing their behaviour or, you know, changing their lifestyle. A huge portion of the world’s population depends on fish as a protein source. One in five breaths is produced by the phytoplankton in the oceans. The ocean provides a massive source of income for people all over the world through ecotourism. So, if you like breathing if you like eating, and if you like having fun, you should love the oceans. The majority of the world is made up of water and the same goes for our bodies. We are sustained by water, water sustains us. It is the lifeblood of the planet.

32 thoughts on “PWB Series: Love The Oceans

  1. muy bue vide me gusta la calidad y el enfoque q le diero sigan asi exito muy muy buen video saludos para todos

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