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Underwater Photos Wanted for Ocean in Focus Contest

In recognition of the United Nations declaring 2010 the International Year of Biodiversity, Project AWARE Foundation and SeaWeb’s Marine Photobank are calling for entries for the third “Ocean in Focus” Conservation Photography Contest that feature species in need of protection, the human impacts upon them and their environments, and the importance of conserving biodiversity.

Photographers of all backgrounds—including conservationists, scientists, divers, travelers and students—and at all skill levels, ranging from amateur to professional, are encouraged to vie for the Grand Prize package that includes US$500 cash as well as many marine-conservation related gifts. Four additional prize packages will be available: three for honorable mentions and a “Biodiversity Award” package that will be bestowed upon a submission that particularly highlights the need for biodiversity or biodiversity protection.

Partner organizations Project AWARE Foundation and SeaWeb’s Marine Photobank aim to inspire photographers to turn their lenses in a different direction—one that informs and inspires positive action that will help conserve marine species and their environments.

“We are at a tipping point and we need to use every tool in our toolbox to help advance marine conservation,” said Dawn M. Martin, president of SeaWeb. “As the Gulf of Mexico oil disaster has reminded us, images are incredibly powerful and important ways to tell the story of what’s happening in the ocean. Through this annual photo contest, we encourage photographers worldwide to share the images and stories of their experiences.”

This year, scientists and conservationists are especially concerned about recent failures of legislators to protect marine species. During the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species meeting in March, short-term economic interests won out over scientific evidence that many marine species are in need of further protection, including endangered hammerhead sharks, oceanic whitetip sharks, red coral and bluefin tuna.

“Divers are outraged at recent conservation failures. But we’re also some of the ocean planet’s strongest advocates, sharing a deep concern for protection of critical species,” says Project AWARE Foundation’s Director, Jenny Miller Garmendia. “This annual photo contest helps divers and underwater photographers raise the profile of these species during a critical time, and it helps to call attention to protection measures so desperately needed.”

Entrants are asked to submit their most captivating contest photos at before August 31. Winners will be announced this fall.


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