Sharks at film festival

International marine and wildlife conservation artists Guy Harvey and Wyland will join scuba diver and wildlife photographer Jim Abernathy to showcase This is Your Ocean: Sharks as the Eco Spotlight feature at the Newport Beach Film Festival scheduled for 28 April to 5 May.

Director George C. Schellenger takes the audience into the world of sharks through the eyes of Wyland, Harvey and Abernathy in the waters of the Bahamas.

The 44-minute documentary depicts sharks in their environment capturing both adventure and passion, and providing the audience with face-to-face realism.

Mr. Harvey, founder of the Guy Harvey Research Institute at Nova Southeastern University and the Guy Harvey Ocean Foundation, recently joined the growing ranks of individuals and organisations calling for strict regulations to ban the commercial fishing of all sharks in The Bahamas.

Scientists with the International Union for Conservation of Nature have estimated that 30 per cent of shark and ray species around the world are threatened or near threatened with extinction.

The loss of these animals could cause irreversible damage to the ocean’s ecosystem and result in the loss of hundreds of millions of dollars in the tourist trade.

In related shark conservation activity, Mr. Harvey has offered his artistic talent and foundation sponsorship funding in support of the upcoming Circle Hook Symposium scheduled for 4-6 May in Miami.

The symposium, hosted by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, is an international gathering of scientists, resource managers and constituents convening to discuss the performance and use of circle hooks in commercial, recreational and artisanal fisheries.

While it is legal to use a J-hook to fish for sharks, Mr. Harvey recommends using a circle hook, where the barb points inward and not outward.

Laishley State Park in Punta Gorda, Florida, is hosting the 2011 Guy Harvey Ultimate Shark Challenge Tournament on 13-15 May, which has become a model for the next-generation of shark catch and release tournaments with the mandatory use of circle hooks.

Scientists from Mote Marine Lab in Sarasota will be on the water working with the Tournament fishermen, tagging qualifying sharks and assisting with the release.