Category Archives: Fish

Baby Sharks and Climate Change – Offical WCFF Selection

“Introducing Physioshark|Baby Sharks and Climate Change” produced by Tom Vierus is an official selection to the 2018 WCFF.

SYNOPSIS:  Second only to fishing pressure, climate change threatens shark populations worldwide. Increasing ocean temperatures and decreasing pH and oxygen will impact all marine life, but sharks may be particularly vulnerable. They grow slowly, take a long time to mature, do not produce as many young as other fish species, and therefore may be unable to adapt fast enough to keep pace with climate change.

The physioshark project – primarily based on Moorea, French Polynesia – has been investigating how climate change stressors affect newborn sharks since 2014. Because all 4.7 million km2 of French Polynesian waters comprise a shark sanctuary — the largest in the world – shark fishing/exploitation is banned. This provides a rare opportunity to study resident shark populations without their number one stressor. But, even the best-managed marine sanctuaries are not immune to climate change.

The physioshark team has characterized and been closely monitoring environmental conditions at 11 potential shark nursery areas around the island and have been executing field and laboratory-based experiments on newborn blacktip reef and lemon sharks to understand how they respond to environmental conditions they currently face. This has allowed the team to also model sharks’ responses to conditions predicted with climate change to understand how habitat availability may change over time and the sharks’ capacity to adapt. Beyond the experiments, the team has been committed to communicating about shark biology and conservation with local communities, schools, and via social media.

This short film introduces the physioshark project and documents the team’s efforts toward shark conservation.

The WCFF informs, engage and inspires wildlife conservation through the power of film. Join us for our eight year anniversary in New York, NY, October 18-28, 2018. Ten days of film screenings, panel discussions, receptions, field trips, networking, Virtual Reality and more.

Contact: info@wcff.org to join the planning committee. Sponsor the film festival, advertise on the big screen during the outdoor summer series and the October festival. Take a page in the full color program book to be distributed in Africa, Australia, China, Europe, India, North and South America.

This blacktip shark is being released at the spot it was caught at about a month ago. It underwent a series of trials in a wet lab at a research station, where physiological responses to warming waters were investigated. The results will help understand the impacts of climate change induced changing environmental conditions and if – as the scientists suspect – the baby sharks will become less resilient in future.

Christopher J. Gervais, FRGS
Twitter: @CJGERVAIS
Christopher@WCFF.org

Wildlife Conservation Film Festival
October 18-28, 2018 | New York, NY
http://www.WCFF.org
Facebook.com/WCFForg
Twitter: @WCFF_org
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Single-Use Plastic Straws

Single-use plastic straws typically cannot be recycled. Instead, they often end up in our oceans, a big part of our growing plastic pollution crisis. At present humans are unloading the equivalent of a dump truck full of plastic into the world’s oceans every minute. One pile of garbage in the Pacific Ocean has reached at least 87,000 tons and covers an area roughly four times the size of California.

The WCFF informs, engage and inspires wildlife conservation through the power of film. Join us for our eight year anniversary in New York, NY, October 18-28, 2018. Ten days of film screenings, panel discussions, receptions, field trips, networking, Virtual Reality and more.

Contact: info@wcff.org to join the planning committee. Sponsor the film festival, advertise on the big screen during the outdoor summer series and the October festival. Take a page in the full color program book to be distributed in USA, China and other countries.

Christopher J. Gervais, FRGS
Twitter: @CJGERVAIS
Christopher@WCFF.org

Wildlife Conservation Film Festival
October 18-28, 2018 | New York, NY
http://www.WCFF.org
Facebook.com/WCFForg
Twitter: @WCFF_org
Instagram: @wcff_org
Vimeo.com/wcff
LinkedIn: Wildlife Conservation Film Festival

Seeking Sanctuary – Official WCFF Selection

“Seeking Sanctuary” directed by Nick Jones, produced by Louise Heren and Simon Blakeney is an official selection for 2018.

The WCFF informs, engage and inspires wildlife conservation through the power of film. Join us for our eight year anniversary in New York, NY, October 18-28, 2018. Ten days of film screenings, panel discussions, receptions, field trips, networking, Virtual Reality and more.

Contact: info@wcff.org to join the planning committee. Sponsor the film festival, advertise on the big screen during the outdoor summer series and the October festival. Take a page in the full color program book to be distributed in USA and other countries.

Christopher J. Gervais, FRGS
Twitter: @CJGERVAIS
Christopher@WCFF.org

Wildlife Conservation Film Festival
October 18-28, 2018 | New York, NY
http://www.WCFF.org
Facebook.com/WCFForg
Twitter: @WCFF_org
Instagram: @wcff_org
Vimeo.com/wcff
LinkedIn: Wildlife Conservation Film Festival

“I Am Salmon”

“I Am Salmon” produced and directed by Peter Mieres will premiere at the 2018 Wildlife Conservation Film Festival (WCFF) in New York, NY. The WCFF mission is to inform, engage and inspire wildlife conservation through the power of film. Join us for our eight year anniversary is October 18-28, 2018. Ten days of film screenings, panel discussions, receptions, field trips, networking, virtual reality and more. All Access Film Festival passes are available now for purchase: wcff.org/nyc-festival-2018/

Synopsis: “I Am Salmon” tells the story of the life cycle of the five species of wild pacific salmon and their age old relationship with the Tseshaht First Nation in British Columbia. Wild Pacific Salmon are at risk by a number of threats such as deforestation, pollution, over-fishing and the dams, ect. This short documentary hopes to create awareness of the issue.

Watch trailer: https://vimeo.com/259220503

Contact: info@wcff.org to join the planning committee. Sponsor the film festival, advertise on the big screen during the outdoor summer series and the October festival. Take a page in the full color program book to be distributed in USA, China and other countries.

Christopher J. Gervais, FRGS
Twitter: @CJGERVAIS
Christopher@WCFF.org

Wildlife Conservation Film Festival
October 18-28, 2018 | New York, NY
http://www.WCFF.org
Facebook.com/WCFForg
Twitter: @WCFF_org
Instagram: @wcff_org
Vimeo.com/wcff
LinkedIn: Wildlife Conservation Film Festival

Plastic Pollution Facts

Some facts about Plastic Pollution in the Ocean
  • The average American throws away approximately 185 pounds of plastic per year.
  • The USA throws away 35 billion plastic water bottles every year. Annually approximately 500 billion plastic bags are used worldwide.
  • More than one million bags are used every minute.
  • It takes 500-1,000 years for plastic to degrade.
  • Plastic constitutes approximately 90 percent of all trash floating on the ocean’s surface, with 46,000 pieces of plastic per square mile.
  • One million sea birds and 100,000 marine mammals are killed annually from plastic in our oceans.
  • New study finds 73% of deep water fish in the Northwest Atlantic Ocean have ingested micro plastics.
  • Some 45% of all seabird species, 25% of cetaceans, all sea turtle species and a growing list of fish species have been documented with plastic in or around their bodies.
The WCFF informs, engage and inspires wildlife conservation through the power of film. Join us for our eight year anniversary in New York, NY, October 18-28, 2018. Ten days of film screenings, panel discussions, receptions, field trips, networking, Virtual Reality and more.
Contact: info@wcff.org to join the planning committee. Sponsor the film festival, advertise on the big screen during the outdoor summer series and the October festival. Take a page in the full color program book to be distributed in USA, China and other countries.

Christopher J. Gervais, FRGS
Twitter: @CJGERVAIS
Christopher@WCFF.org

Wildlife Conservation Film Festival
October 18-28, 2018 | New York, NY
http://www.WCFF.org
Facebook.com/WCFForg
Twitter: @WCFF_org
Instagram: @wcff_org
Vimeo.com/wcff
LinkedIn: Wildlife Conservation Film Festival

Oceanic Whitetip Shark receives protection

Several weeks back, the Trump administration announced the oceanic whitetip shark will be listed as “threatened” under the Endangered Species Act, the first shark species to receive these protections in Atlantic continental U.S. waters. Historically considered one of the most abundant shark species, the oceanic whitetip has suffered 80% population decline, mostly due to being caught as bycatch in longline fisheries and the victim of global shark fin trade. Shark finning is illegal in U.S. waters, however fins continue to be bought and sold throughout the United States and often come from unsustainable foreign fisheries in countries that have ineffective or no shark finning bans.

Read more:

https://www.usnews.com/news/best-states/california/articles/2018-01-30/declining-species-of-shark-added-to-endangered-species-list

wric.com/2018/01/30/declining-species-of-shark-added-to-endangered-species-list/

http://usa.oceana.org/press-releases/oceanic-whitetip-first-shark-listed-threatened-continental-us-atlantic

Learn more about protecting sharks and other marine life. The WCFF informs, engages and inspires wildlife conservation and global biodiversity through the power of film. Join us for our eight year anniversary in New York, NY, October 18-28, 2018. Ten days of film screenings, panel discussions, receptions, field trips, networking events, virtual reality programs and more. The WCFF is the ONLY documentary film festival in NewYork, NY and worldwide dedicated to wildlife conservation.


Photo credit: Paul Spielvogel

Contact: info@wcff.org to join the planning committee. Sponsor the film festival, advertise on the big screen during the outdoor summer series and the October festival. Take a page in the full color program book to be distributed in USA and other countries.

Christopher J. Gervais, FRGS
Twitter: @CJGERVAIS
Christopher@WCFF.org

Wildlife Conservation Film Festival
October 18-28, 2018 | New York, NY
http://www.WCFF.org
Facebook.com/WCFForg
Twitter: @WCFF_org
Instagram: @wcff_org
Vimeo.com/wcff
LinkedIn: Wildlife Conservation Film Festiv

The Epic Battle Against Invasive Lionfish

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First reported near Florida in the 1980s, lionfish have since spread throughout southeastern U.S. waters, the Gulf of Mexico, and the Caribbean Sea, taking over coasts from New York to Brazil. These brightly-striped ornamental fish, native to the Indo-Pacific, were believed to have been let loose in U.S. waters by the aquarium trade.The problem: with insatiable appetites (they’ve been found to eat over 70 fish/invertebrate species) these invasive creatures have since wreaked havoc on coral reefs and fisheries, eating both other species’ prey and grazers that clean algae from reefs. Plus, no predators have stepped in to gobble up the strange species, allowing the fish to reproduce relatively unchecked.

Still, scientists and environmentally-minded entrepreneurs alike have been taking action against ballooning lionfish populations, creating and testing everything from underwater robots to fish traps loaded with special recognition software, all designed to drastically lower the lionfish headcount. “It’s the inverse of every fisheries management plan you’ve ever heard of,” says marine biologist Corey Eddy, who focuses on lionfish near Bermuda. “Usually we’re trying to minimize the pressure on fish populations so they can rebound. Now we’re saying, let’s start wiping them out.”

Though strategies like hosting spearfishing tournaments and giving out special lionfish culling permits can help individuals nab hundreds of lionfish in a day, this is nothing compared with the two million eggs a female lionfish could spawn every year. Add that to the fact that they can lurk below 130 feet, too deep for average divers, and scientists have speculated that robots may be better than humans at controlling lionfish populations.

Colin Angle, cofounder of iRobot, had this same thought while diving in Bermuda, only natural since his company has created robots from the Roomba to radioactive nuclear waste cleaners. Inspired by the idea to employ robots in lionsih control, Angle and his wife, biochemist Erika Ebbel, began nonprofit Robots in Service of the Environment (RISE), with the goal of creating an affordable autonomous underwater robot that lethally shocks lionfish by early next year. RISE members feel that lionfish could ultimately become the next popular delicacy, a demand that would vastly help limit lionfish populations. “Ultimately the way this becomes a success is by creating a market and the interest of consumers in eating lionfish,” says John Rizzi, executive director of RISE. “The best way to challenge the sustainability of a species is for humans to eat it. Whether that’s good or bad, in this case that will benefit the environment.”

Similarly, recreational divers Bryan and Anna Clark were inspired to start a nonprofit environmental group called Coast Watch Alliance, which works to simultaneously protect reefs and battle lionfish. Bryan Clark is working on a prototype to suck up the fish with a vacuum-like gulp. He’s also developing a “hunting ROV” (remote-operated vehicle) with a camera to seek out the fish before diving down. He feels that both technology and financial motives will help decimate the lionfish. “Some people are going to harvest lionfish because it’s great for the environment, others will do it because it’s fun to do while they’re diving. But a lot of people are going to do it because they’re going to make some money taking lionfish to the market,” he says.

It just so happens that lionfish have already unwittingly stepped into the spiny lobster fishery commercial market, as 20 percent of lobster traps end up catching lionfish as well. “lf the lionfish are showing up in those traps, uninvited and unintended, then why not get them to show up intentionally?” notes diver Bob Hickerson, who’s putting his contractor skills to good use by designing a better lionfish trap. The “Frapper Trap” (from the French word meaning “to strike down”) will implement a pattern recognition program to seize lionfish, and let other species free. Along with his wife, Maria, his father-in-law, and volunteers from Team Frapper, he hopes to have a trap ready to test in the next six months. “We can’t stand back and watch our reefs being taken over by lionfish,” he says.

Nevertheless, even with such a broad range of arsenals being developed, experts believe that total destruction of lionfish is impossible, though creating a strong commercial market for selling the species to diners could prevent them from devastating entire ecosystems.

“I think commercial incentive will be a big part of the solution, supplemented by spearfishing in shallow water and some of these other things,” says Stephen Gittings, science coordinator at National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Office of National Marine Sanctuaries. “Some of these might sound like crazy ideas, but you never know until you try.”

Source: Gaworecki, Mike. “The lionfish invasion: a call to arms?” Mongabay. 14 December 2016.

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Wildlife Conservation Film Festival

Biodiversity & Wildlife Crime Conference
Christopher J. Gervais, F.R.G.S.
Founder & CEO
Christopher@WCFF.org
www.WCFF.org

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Twitter: @WCFF_org
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