Already in its eighth year, the Blue Marine Foundation‘s Ocean Awards celebrate a number of initiatives that help protect the ocean. Divided into the Local Hero Award, the Science Award, the Innovation Award, the Lifetime Achievement Award, the Public Awareness Award, and the Young Initiative Award, the panel of esteemed judges recently announced 22 finalists that they chose from over 70 candidates.
In the Public Awareness category, a category that celebrates groups or individuals that advance marine conservation objectives through campaigning, mainstream media, art forms, or educational means, the finalists are Steve Backshall’s Shark series. The four-part natural history TV series aired on Sky and reveals the secret wonders of sharks to inform a wide audience of the beauty of a wide variety of elasmobranch species.
Further finalists in the category are the Netflix documentary Seaspiracy which exposes the impact of commercial fishing, as well as Sarah Cunliffe’s campaign and film about the Help Our Kelp campaign. Since 1987, 96% of kelp forests within the Sussex area in the UK have been destroyed due to trawling and other human pressures. Sarah’s film tells this story and enhances a campaign that raises awareness of the issue.
Other finalists include Terry Hughes from James Cook University in Australia (Lifetime Achievement Award). Having contributed to tropical reef research for over three decades, he is renowned for his research on global coral bleaching. In the Innovation category, one of the finalists is Mobius by Whale Seeker. This innovation uses artificial intelligence to detect marine mammals from aerial images.
In the Local Hero Award category, one of the finalists is Sheena Talma from Nekton Foundation. The young scientist from the Seychelles has been at the core of numerous projects in the Seychelles. For example, she made a documentary about sharks in the area and has been part of a variety of awareness campaigns on key environmental issues.
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Photography courtesy of Stefan Andrews / Ocean Image Bank & Thomas Horig / Ocean Image Bank.