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Guy Marcovaldi shot of a free diver removing sea turtle bycatch from a discarded fishing net (Photo: Projeto Tamar Brazil/Marine Photobank)

Ocean in Focus Conservation Photo Contest Winner

  (UNITED STATES, 10/17/2010)

Oceanographer and photographer Guy Marcovaldi has won the Grand Prize and a runner-up prize for SeaWeb's Marine Photobank and Project AWARE Foundation third annual Ocean in Focus conservation photography contest.

Guy Marcovaldi

Marcovaldi, a master diver, is the Director of Projeto TAMAR-ICMBio, or TAMAR, Brazil’s federal agency responsible for the Brazilian Sea Turtle Conservation Program. He has worked for the agency since its inception 30 years ago.

Marcovaldi won the Grand Prize for his stunning shot of a free diver removing sea turtle bycatch from a discarded fishing net. The net was discovered drifting off the coast of Bahia, Brazil, days after a storm with 17 sea turtles that had been entangled and killed.

“When [TAMAR] started 30 years ago, we had a lot of pictures of female sea turtles being killed by fishermen, and this is the reason that we started to address the problem. Then we picked up the problem with turtle nesting areas and now we deal a lot with the problem of incidental capture. In my opinion, the circumstance of -incidental capture- was one of the strongest, in a bad way, that I witnessed”, said Marcovaldi.

Left, a local fisherman prepares his longline hooks used for catching dorado off the coast of Ecuador (Photo: Maximilian Hirschfeld/Marine Photobank) and right, sea turtle (Projeto Tamar Brazil/Marine Photobank)

Commenting on the winning photo Marcovaldi said, “I was informed in the main station of TAMAR that there was this net nearby in the mouth of the river and that there were lots of turtles captured in it. When the fishermen that owned the net realized how many turtles they captured, they just left the net."

Left, a woman in the Philippines mourns the death of a whale shark (Peri Paleracio/Marine Photobank) and right, an albatross hooked and drowned by a pelagic longline (Projeto Tamar Brazil/Marine Photobank)

"When I arrived at the location, the net was coming out of the water with many turtles trapped in it. With the help of local fishermen, the ones that had informed us of the net, I was able to pull the net offshore and get a better look at it, and then take a picture. Unfortunately, the turtles were all dead”, he added.

“These kinds of photographs allow people who probably wouldn’t have access to the marine environment to see the problems and care about marine conservation", Marcovaldi observed. 

SeaWeb received more than 300 image submissions from more than 80 photographers around the world who utilize the incredible power of still images to communicate about marine conservation and illuminate the many threats facing our ocean.

About SeaWeb

Sea turtle and diver (Photo: Projeto Tamar)

SeaWeb is an international, non-profit, communications organization dedicated to creating a culture of ocean conservation.

SeaWeb works collaboratively to inform and empower diverse ocean voices and conservation champions in strategic, targeted sectors to encourage market solutions, policies and behaviours that result in a healthy thriving ocean. SeaWeb transforms knowledge into action by shining a spotlight on workable, science-based solutions to the most serious threats facing the ocean such as climate change, pollution and  over-exploitation.

Video: Projeto Tamar Brazil

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Margaret E.L. Stacey
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