The Guy Harvey Great Shark Race – Competitive Conservation

February 5, 2015 at 6:45 pm | Posted in Conservation | Leave a comment
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Businesses and individuals can sponsor and name their own shark and watch online as it races other tagged sharks.

Davie, FL – February 2, 2015 – The Guy Harvey Ocean Foundation and the Guy Harvey Research Institute (GHRI) at Nova Southeastern University, one of the world’s leading shark research groups, are launching the Guy Harvey Great Shark Race (GSR). This race allows businesses and individuals to sponsor sharks through the purchase of satellite tracking tags. These tags enable researchers and the public to follow these sharks online in near real-time. Whoever’s sharks travels the furthest in six months wins a Florida Keys fishing vacation.

Great Mako Race 2015

The GSR kicks-off on April 2, 2015 after GHRI researchers return from an expedition to Isla Mujeres, Mexico to deploy satellite tags on mako sharks. The second leg of the race starts on June 1, 2015, when researchers will be in Grand Cayman to tag oceanic whitetip sharks. The Smart Position or Temperature (SPOT) tags utilize the latest in tracking technology to allow researchers and the public to follow the sharks online in near real-time.

According to the IUCN, one-third of open ocean shark species are threatened with extinction. The data gathered in this race allows researchers to better understand the migration patterns and habitat utilization of these apex predators. This information is key to knowing where these sharks live and which areas should be protected.

“This is a great way for people to get directly involved with this cutting-edge shark research,” says world renowned marine artist and scientist Guy Harvey. “Plus, participants can promote their support and have bragging rights as family, friends and business associates follow their own shark online.”

All participants will receive a custom GSR certificate featuring the name of their shark, limited edition GSR artwork signed by Guy Harvey and publicity to the 750,000+ Guy Harvey social media followers. The sponsor of the winning shark will receive a fishing trip for two at the Islander Resort, a Guy Harvey Outpost, in Islamorada, FL. Sponsors of tags that last one-year long receive a signed copy of Guy’s Book Fishes of the Open Ocean. For more information, visit www.GreatSharkRace.com.

Aerial Oceanside

For those looking to catch their own shark to tag, Guy Harvey Outpost Expeditions is offering the opportunity to fish along-side the GHRI researchers and have a front row seat on the water as their shark is wrangled, tagged and released. For more information, visit www.GuyHarveyOutpost.com/Expeditions or 800-513-5257 or reservations@guyharveyoutpost.com

About Guy Harvey Outpost

Guy Harvey Outpost seeks to foster sustainable ecotourism with reciprocal benefits – both for customers and for the residents of these communities living amidst waterfront settings of unique heritage. The brand mission is to inspire guests to travel with friends and family to unique destinations, promote sustainable tourism and the stewardship of resources for the benefit of guests today, and those who follow in the years to come, and to engage guests in environmentally responsible and memorable recreational activities that instill life-long memories and shape individual growth. For more information, visit www.GuyHarveyOutpost.com.

About Guy Harvey Ocean Foundation

Founded by world renowned marine artist Guy Harvey, the Guy Harvey Ocean Foundation funds scientific research and educational programs aimed at conserving the marine environment. It is the mission of the GHOF to help ensure that future generations can enjoy and benefit from a naturally balanced ocean ecosystem where fish, and other marine wildlife, flourish. For more information, visit www.GuyHarvey.com/ocean-conservation.

About Guy Harvey Research Institute

Established in 1999, the Guy Harvey Research Institute (GHRI) is a collaboration between the renowned marine artist, scientist and explorer, Dr. Guy Harvey, and Nova Southeastern University’s Oceanographic Center. The mission of the GHRI is to provide the scientific information necessary to understand, conserve, and effectively manage the world’s marine fishes and their ecosystems. For more information, visit www.nova.edu/ocean/ghri.

For Immediate Release 

Contact:               Greg Jacoski

                              Greg@GuyHarvey.com

                              (800) 288-1227  

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Guy Harvey, Sir Richard Branson Discuss Marine Conservation Issues

November 9, 2012 at 3:22 pm | Posted in Caymans, Guy Harvey, Marine Science | Leave a comment
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Left to right: Michael Ryan, Guy Harvey, Madeleine Ryan, Jessica Harvey and Sir Richard Branson.

I recently had an opportunity to meet with Sir Richard Branson, founder and chairman of the Virgin Group. Sir Richard was in Grand Cayman to deliver the keynote speech at the recent “Alternative Investment Conference”, which was held at the Ritz Carlton Hotel on Grand Cayman. The event was organized and hosted by Michael Ryan and also featured such notables as former U.S. President George W. Bush and former world’s number one golfer Greg Norman.

After the conference, I was able to meet with Sir Richard for a few minutes to discuss the potential for collaborating with the Guy Harvey Ocean Foundation. I gave Sir Richard a quick overview of the GHOF and briefed him on several of the projects the Foundation has supported, with specific details on studies involving tiger sharks, mako sharks, bluefin tuna and billfish.

I elaborated on the role that GHOF research has played in highlighting the importance of the Bahamas archipelago to many species of sharks. In a collaborative effort with the Bahamas National Trust and the Pew Environmental Group, we convinced the government of the Bahamas to protect all sharks from commercial exploitation within their 200 mile EEZ.

Here in the Cayman Islands, the GHOF in involved in a multitude of research projects that includes Nassau grouper conservation, lionfish eradication and recruitment, and climate change studies at CCMI in Little Cayman. We are also actively engaged in shark research and blue marlin migration studies.

Documentary film making has also been a priority, so during the last year the Guy Harvey Expeditions team of producer George Schellenger, Jessica Harvey and myself have been on location nine times to conduct shoots in Panama, Nova Scotia, Little Cayman, Cocos Island (Costa Rica), the Bahamas and Isla Mujeres (Mexico). Our group made three trips to Isla Mujeres in 2012, teaming up with Captain Anthony Mendillo and crew to complete shoots on sailfish, mako sharks and whale sharks. Sir Richard was particularly interested in the sailfish and whale shark work as he has visited Isla Mujeres on several occasions, also guided by Captain Anthony.  We discussed the limited research done on sailfish and whale sharks and the opportunity to collaborate with the Georgia Aquarium research team in future research and conservation efforts.

I went to some length explaining the value of catch and release sport fishing to Caribbean island and Central American economies. I emphasized the need for a regional approach as many of the large pelagic species cover great distances that cross several jurisdictions. This requires a coordinated effort in management and conservation as one country’s regulations may not be the same as its neighbors.

I also discussed the need for research work on all the species mentioned, as without the scientific data one cannot make management decisions and thus achieve sustainability and conservation. Fishing is the method by which we access many of these creatures for study, underwater photography, tagging and genetic work. Sir Richard was not keen on fishing but acknowledged it is a useful tool in this arena.

We moved on to some more local issues, the hot topics being the condition of the Cayman Turtle Farm and the issue regarding stingray conservation through law. Sir Richard was concerned that turtles could still be fished by local licensed fishermen, given that turtles are protected world-wide. I pointed out that none of the current license holders have continued with this activity. The turtle farm itself needed to be divested I said, and turned into a better marine attraction whose focus was more on turtle replenishment, research and husbandry than on the consumption of the turtle meat. Our belief is that there are hundreds of thousands of turtle lovers who would be willing to donate $5 or $10 towards a satellite tagging program that would allow the turtles to be set free so that they can  provide information about migrations and long distance journeys.

The treatment of the stingrays in the Caymans is another sore point for many locals. The resident stingray populations have been sabotaged and removed by unknown persons for at least the last two years, and our census studies have shown a 50% reduction in the population during that time (a decade of research by the GHOF and the Dept of Environment has provided the base line information about this population). Four tagged stingrays were recently discovered in the Dolphin Discovery tourist attraction. Though the four tagged rays were released, the owners of the attraction have refused to release six untagged rays. Sir Richard said it should be very simple to change the law and have stingrays enjoy full protection from poaching given their ecological importance and their value to the island. After all the people of the Cayman Islands and millions of visitors have an enjoyed and benefited from this unique experience for the last 30 years.

The proposed expansion of marine parks by the Dept of Environment was a good move and Sir Richard commented that fishing has been known to improve in areas adjacent to marine parks. He said there are models out now that show countries need to protect 40 – 50 % of their shallow reef areas to ensure long term survivability. I commented that the Cayman Islands were a world leader in the formation of marine parks and in the protection of the spawning sites of the iconic Nassau grouper.

Sir Richard was very gracious and listened to many of our comments and suggestions. The meeting was much appreciated by all involved and the GHOF look forward to collaborating with Sir Richard and his foundation on several projects. It is our collective responsibility to conserve the marine environment and maintain the biodiversity of the planet.

Fish responsibly, dive safely.  Guy Harvey PhD.

FWC ID’s Mystery Eyeball – and the Winner is…

October 15, 2012 at 11:08 pm | Posted in Guy Harvey, Guy Harvey Ocean Foundation, Guy Harvey Outpost Ltd., Marine Science | Leave a comment
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The origins of the mystery eyeball that washed up on a South Florida beach last week was the subject of much debate among experts and laymen alike. Guesses about what animal the very large eyeball belonged to ranged from the plausible – giant squid, large billfish – to the, well, highly implausible – such as the long-extinct megalodon! Now, the Florida Fish & Wildlife Conservation Commission says the mystery is solved:

After examining an eye found on a south Florida beach this week, researchers from the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) believe the specimen came from a swordfish. Genetic testing will be done to confirm the identification.

“Experts on site and remotely have viewed and analyzed the eye, and based on its color, size and structure, along with the presence of bone around it, we believe the eye came from a swordfish,” said Joan Herrera, curator of collections at the FWC’s Fish and Wildlife Research Institute in St. Petersburg. “Based on straight-line cuts visible around the eye, we believe it was removed by a fisherman and discarded.”

The approximately softball-size eye was recovered by a citizen in Pompano Beach on Wednesday. FWC staff received the eye later that day. Swordfish are commonly fished in the Florida Straits offshore of south Florida at this time of year.

A highly migratory fish, swordfish can be found from the surface to as deep as 2,000 feet. Swordfish in the Atlantic can reach a maximum size of over 1,100 pounds, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Swordfish feed on a wide variety of fish and invertebrates.

The mystery eyeball that washed up on a South Florida beach…

…and a close-up of a swordfish eye. Mystery solved?

Gulf of Mexico Fisheries Symposium Announced for September 14-15 in St. Pete Beach, FL

August 21, 2012 at 1:52 pm | Posted in Conservation, Florida, Guy Harvey, Guy Harvey Magazine, Guy Harvey Ocean Foundation, Guy Harvey Outpost Ltd., Marine Science, St. Pete Beach, TradeWinds | Leave a comment
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Health of Gulf Seafood, Fishery Analysis and Habitat Restoration on Agenda

ST. PETE BEACH, FL—AUGUST 20, 2012— Two years after the catastrophic Deepwater Horizon oil well was finally capped, the largest gathering of scientists, fishery experts and government officials are gathering in St. Pete Beach to share the findings of their research, and to offer direction for further study.

The Gulf of Mexico Fisheries Symposium, on Sept. 14-15, is the first summit to bring together the various stakeholders in the Gulf’s fishery, an annual multi-billion-dollar industry for Florida, Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana and Texas.

The oil gusher and the clear environmental damage in 2010 captivated international attention and raised doubts about the safety of eating Gulf of Mexico seafood. It also raised concerns about short- and long-term damage to fish stocks.  Research to be presented at the symposium will begin to definitively address these issues.

The symposium will also present the results of research funded by the Guy Harvey Ocean Foundation‘s 2010 “Save Our Gulf” campaign, which raised $500,000 to fund gulf fisheries research related to the oil spill. It will bring together representatives from all sectors of the marine world – recreational and commercial fishermen, non-governmental and governmental agencies, politicians, fishing authorities and marine scientists – to explore vital issues facing the Gulf through presentations and panel discussions. More than 200 are expected to attend and participate.

The recommendations offered by the Gulf of Mexico Fisheries Symposium will also involve requesting funding from the $20 billion trust established by BP to respond to claims from individuals, businesses and government entities.

Headliners appearing at the symposium are Dr. Bill Hogarth, director of the Florida Institute of Oceanography and a former Assistant Administrator for Fisheries at NOAA, and Dr. Guy Harvey, celebrated artist, fisheries scientist and conservationist. The symposium’s line-up includes Eric Schwaab, Acting Assistant Secretary for Conservation and Management, Gil McRae, Director, Fish and Wildlife Research Institute (FWRI)Donald Kent, President of the Hubbs-Seaworld InstituteDr. Bob Hueter from Mote Marine LaboratoryDr. Mahmood Shivji, Director of the Guy Harvey Research Institute at Nova Southeastern University.

The ultimate mission of the symposium is to provide a platform where all stakeholder groups can share knowledge and move forward with a unified mission of a sustainable and healthy fishery in the Gulf of Mexico.

For a final agenda and listing of speakers and panelists, please go to www.gulffisheriessymposium.com.

The symposium will be held at the TradeWinds Islands Resort on St. Pete Beach.  The Gulf of Mexico Fisheries Symposium is sponsored by NOAA, the Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission, the University of South Florida, the Florida Institute of Oceanography, Mote Marine Laboratory, the Guy Harvey Ocean Foundation and Guy Harvey Magazine.

An Open Letter from Guy Harvey

August 3, 2012 at 5:08 pm | Posted in Art, Conservation, Fishing, Guy Harvey, Guy Harvey Ocean Foundation, Guy Harvey Outpost Ltd., Marine Science, Sharks | Leave a comment
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Fellow anglers, divers and boaters,

It has come to my attention that that there is some concern, particularly among anglers in the northeast US, about my allegiance to the sport fishing community. Please know that first and foremost I am a life-long angler who loves nothing more than spending a day on the water in pursuit of big fish. It’s my passion and my profession, and I live it practically every day of the year. I am also a dedicated conservationist – I believe that we must fish responsibly and ensure the health of fish stocks throughout the world.

In an effort to broaden the message of responsible fishing, the Guy Harvey Ocean Foundation (GHOF) has supported, collaborated and partnered with many organizations over the past four years, including the Shark Free Marina Initiative (SFMI). Sharks are in serious trouble in the US and around the world. However, I am not advocating for a ban on all shark fishing. My position has always been for all anglers to take a responsible, conservation-minded approach to sharks – before you legally harvest a shark, simply consider what you are doing and why you are doing it.

The shark free/friendly concept was initiated to educate and make people aware of the severe pressures being put upon sharks populations around the globe. In the past several years, we have seen many shark tournaments – particularly in Florida – go to an all-release format, which makes for responsible fishing since most of the species of sharks caught in tournaments are traditionally not good table fare.

In contrast, the iconic mako shark is considered fair game in the northeast US, as are tunas and swordfish above federal size limits. Catch and release shark tournaments in this area with high minimum qualifying weights are well organized and have shark conservation measures at heart, as do the partial release billfish tournaments in the mid-Atlantic, which I have proudly supported for over two decades.

In addition, in the US and around the world there are areas of local abundance of species where anglers can legally harvest these species in a sustainable way, even though elsewhere in the world that species may be considered rare or overexploited. This practice is fine with me. I am all about sustainability in sport fishing and commercial fishing, as well as in spearfishing and diving. However, there are many anglers who are not concerned about sustainability and that is cause for concern.

Much of the recent criticism directed my way has stemmed from the role of the Humane Society of the US (HSUS) within the SFMI organization, and alleged ties to PETA and the PEW Environment Group (PEG). I have difficulty in accommodating the role of the HSUS in the sport fishing arena. Other than encouraging catch and release where possible, I see no reason for this organization to exert any influence in sport fishing. I have an even stronger opinion of PETA, which is just too extreme to even get my attention.

As for Pew, I am not aligned with them personally, nor have I supported them during my 20-year tenure as a board member of the IGFA. The one instance in which I worked alongside PEG was in a successful effort to prevent the archipelago of the Bahamas – which was home to the last bastion of sharks in the western Atlantic – from being scoured of sharks by impending commercial interests. The GHOF’s collaborative effort with PEG and the Bahamas National Trust worked, and it prevented the wholesale slaughter of species by people who don’t give a damn.

I also support shark interactive programs and have patronized many such programs in different countries. These interactions with otherwise shy, elusive creatures are inspiring, educational and very entertaining – all without killing a single animal. In addition, the socio-economic value of these interactive sites is immense to the host countries. Only days ago, I returned from a shoot in Isla Mujeres, Mexico where for 60 days each summer thousands of whale sharks gather to feed on plankton blooms and fish spawn. This interaction pumps millions of dollars into the Mexican economy each summer. If this phenomenon occurred in the Orient, then I am certain the harpoon boats would be racing the snorkelers to the sites every day.

Another issue I have difficulty accepting is proposed MPAs based on nothing other than whims of people who want to get rid of sport fishing. These proposed areas, which are closed to sport fishing, typically do not go through a scientific analysis to tell us all about the inventory of species or the estimated biomass from which a regulated harvest could be managed. However, specific time and area closures for certain species at certain times of year do work well. It is ludicrous to allow any harvest of any animal when it is reproducing, so closure of reef fish (snapper and grouper) spawning aggregations during their respective spawning times is a good management practice, as we have seen in the Bahamas and Cayman Islands.

There are many issues facing recreational anglers and many of us have conflicting opinions on how to apply solutions that best benefit the fisheries. Not everyone is going to agree with me on every issue. However, please don’t underestimate my dedication and commitment to the sport fishing community – along with AFTCO, I put back approximately 10 percent of all royalties generated by my art into fishery research and educational programs around the world.

I want to remind my fan base – as well as all of the naysayers – that I love fishing and I love to cook and eat the fish that I catch. I do fish responsibly – I release all billfish and undersized wahoo, tuna or dolphin that I catch. But, a nice bull dolphin, yellowfin or blackfin is going in the cooler! Swordfish are also fair game – in the tournaments we have in Cayman the small ones are released and the big ones are taken. In fact, we just landed a 600 pound plus swordfish on July 22 in Mexico. Not a scrap was wasted!

Tight lines and good luck.

Guy Harvey PhD.

Florida Sea Grant Announces Five 2012 Guy Harvey Scholarship Recipients

February 7, 2012 at 6:34 pm | Posted in Guy Harvey, Guy Harvey Ocean Foundation | Leave a comment
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February 2, 2012 (Gainesville, FL) – A record five graduate students at universities in Florida have been awarded $5,000 scholarships as winners of the Guy Harvey Scholarship Award, recognizing their outstanding achievement in marine science research.

The winners are Felipe Carvalho and Sarah Stephens, University of Florida; M. Laura Habegger, University of South Florida; Sean Bignami, University of Miami; and Kier Smith, Florida Atlantic University.

The scholarship, established in 2010 through a partnership between Florida Sea Grant and the Guy Harvey Ocean Foundation, recognizes students at Florida universities whose research focuses on novel strategies for improving sustainable management of large marine fish and sharks.

“Originally, the Guy Harvey Foundation had planned on providing two scholarships,” says Florida Sea Grant director Karl Havens. “However, when they saw the high quality of applicants, the foundation was tremendously generous in deciding to support the research of five students.

“Clearly the innovative work proposed by these students will have major impacts in regard to meeting the objective of the award.”

Since the award was established three years ago, $24,000 in scholarships has been given to six students at Florida universities. Recipients also receive a certificate designed and signed by well-known marine wildlife artist and conservationist Guy Harvey.

Synopsis of the Winning Applications

Carvalho is conducting research related to the management of blue shark populations in the Atlantic Ocean. His research is about supporting the training of scientists and technicians to use remote sensing methods to track movement of these large predators.

Stephens is working with fishing guides in three Caribbean regions to teach them how to use dart tags to track the movements of permit, working in cooperation with the Bonefish Tarpon Trust.

Habegger is studying how the principles of physics and engineering can be used to understand the role of the bill when billfishes feed, in hopes of discovering practical management strategies, such as specialized fishing gear that reduces by-catch in commercial fisheries, or reduces stress on billfish caught in recreational tournaments.

Bignami is studying how the changing chemistry of marine waters as a result of ocean acidification might affect the early development of large marine fish, using mahi mahi and cobia as case studies.

Smith is developing and testing a method for treating fishing hooks with a graphite and zinc mixture which in preliminary tests appears to be effective in keeping sharks from biting the hooks. The ultimate goal is to reduce the number of sharks caught in long-line commercial fisheries.

The Guy Harvey Ocean Foundation is an organization of philanthropists, conservationists, scientists and educators that emphasizes sensible strategies for promoting ocean conservation and the development of the next generation of marine scientists. The foundation funds research and educational programs developed by universities, colleges, institutes and nonprofit organizations.

Click here to learn more about the Guy Harvey Scholarship and the work of its past winners.

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