Coral reefs wiped out at Sipadan Photo

Coral reefs wiped out at Sipadan

Hundreds of meters of coral and turtles have been wiped out at Sipadan in a tragic accident involving a large barge and the local irresponsibility of whoever is managing the island.  It is incredible ironic that dive resorts were pushed off of the island in an attempt to preserve Sipadan’s amazing marine life, only to result in the destruction of the very resource they were trying to protect.  The beached barge was carrying steel and concrete mixing supplies, and so far, no one has reported why so many building supplies were on their way to Sipadan.  FiNS Magazine has posted a stirring report written by Andrea and Antonella Ferrari:

Excerpt: An enormous steel barge carrying thousands of tonnes of coarse gravel, sand, steel tubes, iron mesh, prime movers, a large bulldozer and a gigantic crane — which had incredibly been allowed to anchor right in front of Sipadan’s legendary dropoff before unloading its cargo on the supposedly protected island — was pushed against the reef by wind, ending up beached on the island like some monstrous whale. In the process of being beached, the barge scraped clean thousands of years of nature’s delicate work between the old pier and Barracuda Point. The barge’s flat steel hull wiped corals away like a giant knife slicing through butter, leaving in its wake hundreds of square metres of unnaturally flat limestone, and a veritable wall of coral and debris piled up against the beach.

The damage is incalculable — one of Sipadan’s most precious and beloved spots, well-known the world over, is no more, transformed by a single inexplicable act of human carelessness into a grisly mass of broken and pulverised corals, shredded turtles and mounds of grey gravel suffocating what little is left of the legendary dropoff.

*UPDATE* The Sipadan dive operators have issued a statement on what has happened at Sipadan.

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EPIC 2006 Photo Contest Winners Photo

EPIC 2006 Photo Contest Winners

EPIC has posted the winners of its 2006 photo contest!  We’re seeing many familiar names in the winners lists of recent photo contests.  Congratulations to Wetpixel regular Karl Dietz for a first place win in this year’s Sharks category, and also to all of the other winners!  There is no easy way to view all of the winners on one page, but if you go to the main 2006 winners page, you can click through each category’s winners, one at a time.

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Light & Motion Nikon D200 Underwater Housing Photo

Light & Motion Nikon D200 Underwater Housing

Light & Motion has finally released preliminary information about their upcoming Nikon D200 underwater housing.  Notable features include USB control of the camera, classic L&M ROC strobe control, electro-mechanical shutter release, port conversion rings, and an optional expanded viewfinder.  MSRP is USD $4,499. 

Previously, the only official information about a D200 housing from L&M had come from an interview of CTO John Larkin.

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Steve Fish’s Online Video Seminar, Part II Photo

Steve Fish’s Online Video Seminar, Part II

Light & Motion has posted part II of a video seminar series by Steve Fish (see part I).  Part II shows the difference between shooting into and with the sun, the use of graduated filters, and ideas about continuity and transitions.  Steve even provides sample video clips to demonstrate various points.  I like the formula: “Good Video = Good Photography / Time.”  I’m going to start shooting 0 second videos in order to achieve infinite video goodness.

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Wetpixel welcomes Wags as a video moderator Photo

Wetpixel welcomes Wags as a video moderator

Please join me in welcoming Wags as the newest video moderator here at Wetpixel!  Wags is an ever-helpful presence in the video forums, and through his website, HDVUnderwater, he has even provided Wetpixel members with free video-hosting space.

He’s got a real name (Paul Waghorn), but most people call him WAGS. Wags grew up in the wheat belt of Western Australia on a farm and worked in the mining industry for a few years before moving to Cairns to work in the dive industry. Eventually, he arrived in Exmouth on the Ningaloo Reef in 1995, where he still lives today. In addition to being an SSI instructor, Wags works full-time in filming, editing, graphics, computers, websites, and e-commerce design. His underwater material has been on many local and overseas networks. Wags shoots with a Nikon D70 in a Sea & Sea housing, Sony HDV-FX1 in an Amphibico Phenom housing.

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Wetpixel partners with DiveFilm for Video Podcasts Photo

Wetpixel partners with DiveFilm for Video Podcasts

Wetpixel is proud to announce a partnership with DiveFilm.com, a website dedicated to showcasing underwater video.  DiveFilm features underwater filmmakers and offers high quality video podcasts about the underwater world, available through a free iTunes subscription and other podcast subscription mechanisms.  Contrary to the name, video podcasts do not require a video iPod, and you can watch the broadcasted video right on your computer monitor.

So far, DiveFilm has broadcasted video by numerous Wetpixel members, including Mary Lynn Price, Paul Wags, Eric Hanauer, Steve Douglas, and more!  Check out DiveFilm’s podcast by clicking on “DiveFilm Video Podcast” in Wetpixel’s right-hand navigation menu!

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RSMAS Underwater Photography Contest 2006 Winners Photo

RSMAS Underwater Photography Contest 2006 Winners

The Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science (RSMAS) has posted the winners of its 2006 Underwater Photography Contest.  Congratulations to all of the winners—and to Wetpixel members Patrick Weir, Neil Hammerschlag, Tom Stephens, and Andre Seale (and others?) for placing!

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Aquarium reef fish trade to get new regulations Photo

Aquarium reef fish trade to get new regulations

NOAA and the US Coral Reef Task Force have announced new conservation inniciatives aiming to reduce illegal trade of aquarium reef fishes:

“The resolution calls on the task force to examine the use of cyanide and other poisons in the collection of reef fish on the global market. Although illegal in most countries, the use of cyanide to capture reef fish alive is widespread. The U.S. is the number one market for coral reef fish for the aquarium trade. Previous studies estimate that most live reef fish entering into international trade and imported into the U.S. are collected with the use of cyanide, and thus are illegal.”

The agencies plan on developing detection tests to determine if the fish were collected with cyanide. In addition, NOAA announced that it supports the declaration of 2008 as the “International Year of the Reef”.

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