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New PSA Promotes proper Marine Etiquette for Scuba Divers

(DiverWire) For the Sea Productions and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) have just released a Public Service Announcement (PSA) targeting scuba divers visiting the USVI and Puerto Rico. The seven-minute film was produced by well-known filmmaker Ziggy Livnat in both English and Spanish. The presentation educates viewers via the magic of “talking” animals, and stars Academy Award-winning actor Benicio Del Toro.

“Allowing the animals to speak for their environment makes the message fun and accessible,” says Livnat. The PSA has recently won the prestige CINE Golden Eagle Award for its outstanding production.

Footage for this film was gathered by Livnat and his crew over the course of seven months and several hundred dives in the USVI and Puerto Rico. Along with Del Toro, it features local talent as the voices of the animals, and music composed for the piece by Puerto Rican group Asi Somos. It was inspired by the success of a similar film produced for the state of Hawaii by Livnat’s company, For The Sea Productions.

Caribbean Marine Etiquette PSA

Human interaction takes a heavy toll on the marine environment. Plastic litter kills over 100,000 marine mammals and one million sea birds each year. The TSA confiscates over 240 pounds of illegally collected corals and shells from the luggage of tourists each month on St. Croix alone. Sea grass beds and coral reefs are being heavily damaged by careless boaters.

The good news is that the PSA not only brings these issues to the forefront, but offers the viewer solutions on how to behave responsibly around these fragile marine environments.

Distribution of the PSA is currently in progress, and will include screenings on tourist channels, dive centers, and other outlets. For The Sea Productions hopes to encourage the airlines and cruise ships servicing the islands to participate in this effort by showing the PSA onboard. It is distributed free to educators and the tourism industry. It can be viewed online at www.ForTheSea.com

For The Sea Productions is also producing Learning to Sea: The Virgin Islands. Its a series of 13 short episodes to appear weekly on TV2 News. Each week’s episode will feature a different marine animal in its natural environment with stunning recently filmed imagery, as well as interesting facts and humor. Each episode will be accompanied by original music composed to picture by a local artist. This project is sponsored by the VI Lottery, EPSCoR, Virgin Islands Marine Advisory Service, the Community Foundation of the Virgin Islands and Coral World. Production is set to begin in April, with the first episode airing in early July.

NOAA PSA CoverAs Artist-in-Residence at the VI Council on the Arts, Livnat will be presenting his work to local children at summer camps as well as in school assemblies this fall. “I am extremely impressed with Mr. Livnat’s educational documentary Learning to Sea. Every student in the Territory should have the opportunity to experience this aquatic voyage and learn about the mysteries and beauty of marine life in the Virgin Islands and beyond. We are looking forward to working with Mr. Livnat to ensure that this happens,” said Betty L. Mahoney, the Virgin Islands Council on the Arts Executive Director. These exciting presentations will give students a global view on coral reefs and how humans affect them. Livnat takes students on a cross-global journey under the sea from the Pacific to the Caribbean and the Red Sea depicting marine animals in their environment, their beauty and their struggles, while empowering the students with the message, “you can make a difference.”

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