Guy Harvey Launches Petition Drive to Protect Cayman Stingrays

October 15, 2012

Enactment of the National Conservation Law Postponed Last 10 Years

THE CAYMAN ISLANDS—OCTOBER 15, 2012— Marine wildlife artist and conservationist Dr. Guy Harvey is leading a petition drive calling on the government of the Cayman Islands to immediately put the National Conservation Law into effect, ensuring the safety and protection of all stingrays in the country’s territorial waters.

Currently, stingrays are only protected in the country’s designated Wildlife Interaction Zones, Stingray City and the Sandbar, two of the island’s best known tourist attractions.  Dr. Harvey said that outside of the zones there is no protection for stingrays and they can be removed and/or caught and eaten by local residents.

The National Conservation Act would close this loophole.

Recently four stingrays tagged for study were found at a local Dolphin Discovery facility and returned after a national outcry. However, six other untagged stingrays remain in captivity at the dolphinarium.

“The well-being of stingrays affects every single person in the Cayman Islands,” said Dr. Harvey, who pointed out that half a million visitors per year from around the world come to swim and interact with these charismatic animals.  “By signing this petition you are speaking out against the unconscionable acts of harming stingrays, especially when taking them out of their natural habitat.”

Time is critical, according to Dr. Harvey, a marine biologist, who calls The Cayman Islands home.

The goal is to reach 10,000 signatures.

“Maintaining the ecological health of these stingray populations for the long-term will require management and conservation programs based on a thorough knowledge of the biology of these animals,” said Dr. Harvey who initiated research work on the Cayman Island’s southern stingray (Dasyatis americana) population in 2012.

Dr. Harvey said the situation at the Sandbar in North Sound is unique, with a large number of wild rays that are not fenced or contained and inhabit the shallow clear water with accessibility every day of the year. The socio-economic value of the rays to the Cayman economy is enormous. Each animal may generate USD 500,000 in revenue per year and in its lifetime, assuming they live more than 20 years, may generate USD 10,000,000 in a lifetime.

From 2010, tour operators and casual observations indicated a sudden decline in the number of rays at the Sandbar. The Guy Harvey Research Institute (GHRI) based at Nova Southeastern University conducted a census in January 2012 and sampled only 61rays in the standard three -day research period at the Sandbar which represents a significant (38%) decrease in number of rays compared to the last census in 2008.

This summer GHRI returned with the support of the Georgia Aquarium veterinary staff.  Over three days the team sampled 57 rays (only 5 males) at the Sandbar (down from 61 in January) with assistance from Department of Environment staff and several volunteers. The team spent a day at the original Stingray City and sampled 11 rays (2 males) and caught 3 rays (1 male) at Rum Point bringing the total to 71 rays sampled.  The low number of males generally is cause for concern.

“These iconic animals have given so much to benefit the Cayman Islands that its time the Government returned the favor by immediately approving the National Conservation Law,” said Dr. Harvey.

CLICK HERE TO VIEW & SIGN THE PETITION!

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Guy Harvey Film, Research Inspires North Vancouver Mayor to Support Shark Fin Ban

October 15, 2012

NOTE: The following article appears courtesy of Huffington Post Canada.

A wave of bylaws banning the possession, trade, sale and distribution of shark fin products has swept across the province of British Columbia this past month. North Vancouver joined Port Moody and Coquitlam in introducing a ban on shark fin soup in restaurants, a popular Asian dish that supports a vast industry that is decimating shark populations worldwide and threatens many species with extinction.

Interestingly, Artists for Conservation played an important role in this policy change. Last year the mayor of the city of North Vancouver, Darrell Mussatto, attended the first annual Artists for Conservation Festival on Grouse Mountain. It was there where he first met legendary marine artist Dr. Guy Harvey, a leading advocate for the shark-fin ban, and founder of the Guy Harvey Research Institute (GHRI).

Dr. Harvey’s documentary “This is Your Ocean: Sharks” premiered at the festival last November and Mayor Mussatto had the opportunity to speak to Dr. Harvey about his efforts to save sharks from extinction through his film. That encounter inspired him to support a shark fin ban in his city last month.

Read the Full Article


IGFA Praises Passing of Billfish Conservation Act

October 8, 2012

NOTE: The IGFA released the following statement in response to President Obama signing of the Billfish Conservation Act:

Today, President Obama signed the the Billfish Conservation Act into law, effectively banning the importation of all billfish into the continental United States. The signing marks the culmination of a united undertaking by a diverse coalition of angling and conservation organizations working in cooperation with a bipartisan group of congressional champions. Although there are no commercial fisheries targeting billfish in the US, the US has been the largest importer of billfish in the world, importing about 30,000 billfish annually.

“This is a tremendous success for these highly migratory species,” National Coalition for Marine Conservation President (NCMC) Ken Hinman said. “Marlin, sailfish, and spearfish do not know country boundaries and travel through three of the planet’s oceans. Giving them greater protection in the United States sets the stage for better protection worldwide.”

With the largest buyer out of the market, the NCMC and the International Game Fish Association (IGFA), who championed the bill, will now turn their attention to the international challenges facing these imperiled species. And with populations of three species of marlin having declined by more than 50%, their efforts come not a moment too soon.

“Recreational anglers and ocean conservationists have been the primary supporters behind the Billfish Conservation Act,” IGFA President Rob Kramer commented, “and I am confident that with this strong step by the United States, we will be able to raise support for more robust measures elsewhere.”

The support of the Billfish Conservation Act by groups like the American Sportfishing Association, the Center for Coastal Conservation, the Coastal Conservation Association, the Congressional Sportsmen’s Foundation, the Guy Harvey Ocean Foundation, Keep America Fishing, the National Marine Manufacturer’s Association, OCEARCH and numerous partners in the environmental community played an integral part in the bill’s success.

“We have sound science that indicates that billfish are not doing well on a global level,” IGFA Conservation Director Jason Schratwieser added. “Better international protection for these fish benefits open ocean ecosystems and recreational anglers around the world.”


Guy Harvey Sponsors 8th Annual NSU Shark Invitational Golf Tournament

September 27, 2012

DAVIE, FL—SEPTEMBER 27, 2012— Synonymous with several championship saltwater fishing tournaments, celebrated marine artist and conservationist Guy Harvey is lending his name to a tournament hosted by Nova Southeastern University’s defending champion men’s and women’s golf teams.

The two-day Guy Harvey NSU Shark Invitational tees off with an 18-hole round for the women and 36 holes for the men on October 8 at PGA National Resort and Spa in Palm Beach Gardens. The tournament, which concludes with an 18-hole round on October 9, features 29 men’s and women’s teams from across the United States, 13 of which were ranked in the top-25 of the 2012 preseason coaches’ poll. The more than 200 players and coaches from numerous nationally-ranked teams will receive a Guy Harvey commemorative T-shirt among other items.

Entering the eight year of hosting and always featuring championship caliber competition, the NSU sharks women’s program has posted four consecutive wins in the tournament from 2008 through 2011.  The NSU men’s program has finished second twice in 2010 and 2011.

In teaming up with the NSU Shark Invitational, the Guy Harvey brand deepens its connection to the Davie-based University. In 1999, Dr. Harvey and Nova Southeastern University’s Oceanographic Center established the Guy Harvey Research Institute. The GHRI is housed at the new Oceanographic Center unveiled at a grand opening on September 27. In addition, Dr. Harvey’s art is on display at NSU’s Don Taft University Center in the form of mural roughly the size of a football field.

“We are extremely excited to announce Guy Harvey, Inc. as our title sponsor for the 8th Annual NSU Shark Invitational intercollegiate golf tournament,” Director of Athletic Michael Mominey said.  “The natural partnership with NSU and Guy Harvey further emphasized by the branding of the “Sharks” simply takes this tournament to a new level.”


Gulf of Mexico Fisheries Symposium Underway in St. Pete Beach, FL – Day 1 Recap

September 14, 2012

A very productive and enlightening Day 1 at the Gulf of Mexico Fisheries Symposium is coming to a close. Antonio Fins, Executive Director of the Guy Harvey Ocean Foundation, filed the following synopsis of today’s conversation:

A score of researchers and stakeholders in the Gulf of Mexico’s environment wrestled with the challenges from the 2010 Deepwater Horizons disaster.

The spill — rather, the blowout — from two years ago isn’t the only challenge facing the massive body of water.

For starters, hypoxia — low oxygen levels — impact size able areas. And demands for fish and Gulf seafood puts pressure on stocks even without the oil blowout that unleashed 20 times more oil into the Gulf than what the Exxon Valdez dumped in Alaska waters.

What to do?

The answer: stakeholders need to stop battling each other. Instead they need to back technology, better fishing practices and precise data on species to meet America’s and the world’s need for Gulf fish an seafood in the next 25 years.

One area to improve is aquaculture — the harvesting of fish and seafood in environmentally sensitive and sustainable ways.


Guy Harvey Talks Fisheries Symposium & Guy Harvey Outpost Grand Opening with Fishing Florida Radio

September 10, 2012

Guy recently spoke with BooDreaux, Steve and Capt. Mike of Fishing Florida Radio to discuss the upcoming Gulf of Mexico Fisheries Symposium, which is being held this week in conjunction with the Grand Opening of the new Guy Harvey Outpost on St. Pete Beach. Click here to listen to the interview.

 


Guy Harvey Ocean Foundation Donates $50,000 To Florida Youth Conservation Centers

September 6, 2012

Guy Harvey Ocean Foundation check presentation (left-to-right) FWC Commissioner Charles Roberts; FWC Commissioner Aliese Priddy; FWC Commissioner Richard Corbett,  Antonio Fins, Executive Director of Guy Harvey Ocean Foundation; Steve Stock, President of Guy Harvey Ocean Foundation and Guy Harvey, Inc; FWC Chairman Kenneth Wright;  FWC Vice-Chairman Kathy Barco; FWC Commissioner Brian Yablonski; FWC Commissioner Ronald Bergeron; WFF Exec. Dir. Brett Boston

TAMPA, FL—SEPTEMBER 6, 2012— The Guy Harvey Ocean Foundation today furthered its commitment to marine education efforts in the Sunshine State with a $50,000 donation to the Florida Youth Conservation Centers Network (FYCNN).

The FYCCN is a non-profit partnership between the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission and the Wildlife Foundation of Florida. Working with 85 partner organizations, FYCNN has served more than 120,000 Florida youths in the past three fiscal years by connecting them with traditional outdoor activities. The Guy Harvey organization’s donation will provide seed funding to establish 10 permanent summer camps for youths to introduce them to saltwater environment education, saltwater fishing, kayaking and other conservation-related activities.

Steve Stock, president of the Guy Harvey Ocean Foundation and Guy Harvey, Inc., said the FYCNN was made possible by monies raised this year through a partnership with the Florida Lottery. Guy Harvey’s artwork and merchandise, including apparel, have long been among the most recognizable and popular brand. In March of this year, The Florida Lottery launched the GUY HARVEY® Scratch-Off game, featuring a series of six colorful wildlife illustrations. The game distributed 12 million $2 tickets in just five months, making it one of the most successful scratch-off games in the 25-year history of the Florida Lottery.

The Guy Harvey Ocean Foundation and Guy Harvey, Inc., are committed to investing lottery game proceeds in marine conservation and education programs across Florida. The funding of the FYCCN is a major step toward achieving that goal.

“By supporting these youth conservation centers we are directly meeting our mission objectives to fund both inspired scientific research and innovative education programs to encourage conservation and best management practices for sustainable marine environments,” said Dr. Harvey.  “Helping our children develop a conservation ethic through a strong personal connection with nature is essential for   the future of the state’s natural resources.”