Working to safeguard the planet’s oceans, halting the destruction of threatened marine species and habitats.
Working to safeguard the planet’s oceans, halting the destruction of threatened marine species and habitats.
Photo by @shawnheinrichs // Sharks have evolved over 400 million years, surviving four mass extinction events, keeping our oceans in balance. Slow to mature, long-lived, producing few young, and with slow metabolisms, sharks are perfectly adapted to sit attop of the ocean food chain. Yet the media has unjustly portrayed these magnificent and often-shy predators as "mindless man-eaters,” fueling irrational fears and blind hatred for an animal that does so much to serve our oceans. But the truth is, sharks have far more to fear from us than we from them. Worldwide, an average of only 6 people are accidentally killed by sharks each year, whereas in comparison, humans massacre on average of 100 MILLION sharks every year. Fueled largely by the shark fin trade, but also by demand for their meat, skin and cartilage, shark populations across the globe have plummeted, and in many regions by as much as 90 to 99% in the last 40 years. And as such, we are driving these magnificent predators to the brink of Extinction, eliminating the critical role they play at the top of the food chain, and threatening to topple a delicate system that they have kept in balance for hundreds of millions of years. It's time we recognize these animals for what they truly are - intelligent, sentient, highly selective and truly awesome animals that are deserving of our admiration, respect and protection. END THE WAR ON SHARKS 🖤🦈 #worthmorealive #savesharks #turningthetide @bluespherefoundation @wildaid @sealegacy @lonelywhale @indonesianoceanpride
Photo by @shawnheinrichs // This past June I had the immense honor of filming side-by-side with trusted partners and dear friends @paulnicklen and @mitty in the Galapagos Marine Reserve. The conservation work here by a coalition of NGOs including @charlesdarwinfoundation , @conservationorg , @wildaid , and others has been profound, and what we experienced on the trip was a testament to the success of these efforts. Throughout the week we were treated to some of the best that the oceans have to offer! At Darwin, the oceans poured forth in great abundance with a constant flow of epic marine life. On a single dive we encountered multiple massive Whale Sharks, schools of Hammerhead Sharks, Galapagos Sharks, Silky Sharks, Oceanic Backtip Sharks, Bottlenose Dolphins, Green Turtles, immense schools of Skipjacks and Big Eye Trevally, Yellowfin Tuna, dense shoals of Creole Fish, and much, much more! Surfacing from one such incredible dive, Cristina pointed to whale shark fin cutting the surface a little distance off. We grabbed our gear and headed over in our zodiac. And then it struck me, the famous Darwins Arch, a powerful emblematic symbol of marine conservation, with another iconic symbol, the Whale Shark, swimming near the surface right in front of it. That was the shot I wanted, two emblematic symbols of conservation in one image! We slipped into the water and it was time time to work, however the modest surge and constant wind-chop ensured that the arch was obstructed in almost every frame…but we perserviered…and as opportunity met preparation in a perfect, singular moment, it all came together in a single shot! A hoot, a holler and an excited fist pump into the air and we were back on the zodiac and calling it a wrap! #bethechange #lightonecandle #turningthetide @sealegacy @lonelywhale
A mesmerizing moment in one of @misool resort jellyfish lakes, this is one of two lakes that these golden medusa jellyfish call home. Completely harmless to humans, the thousands of jellies that thrive in this lake demonstrate the incredible biodiversity of Indonesian waters. Follow @IndonesianOceanPride to learn more about the local leaders striving to protect these waters precious to the health and abundance of our ocean. Photo by @ShawnHeinrichs
⠀ Photo by @ShawnHeinrichs // It has been over 5 years since manta rays became fully protected in Indonesia, making it the largest manta sanctuary in the world. 🌏🙏🏻 The dedicated teams at @misool foundation @wildaid @vulcaninc @bluespherefoundation @indonesianoceanpride @conservationid and many others are still working hard everyday to ensure this designated sanctuary is a success. 💙🦋 Globally, mantas attract over 100 million dollars in ecotourism and are among the top experiences divers are seeking. Ecotourism can generate the income and foster the attention necessary to increase public awareness of the plight of mantas and influence governments to protect them. If there is no consumer demand for manta and mobula products, there will be no more fishing of these rays. Through education and awareness, we also hope to limit demand for gill-rakers, and increase consumer intelligence about the use of manta and ray byproducts (meat, cartilage, skin ). If we can help consumers make connection between the gill-rakers and these amazing creatures, if they understand the global impact gill-raker consumption is having on manta and mobula populations, and if they decide enough-is-enough, then perhaps there is truly a ray of hope for future of manta and mobula rays. Remember: when the buying stops, the killing can too. #mantamonday ⠀ #Repost @conservationorg
Repost from @SeaLegacy , photo by @trevor_bacon1 // Silky sharks are one of the most widespread sharks in the open ocean. They are hunted widely for their fins, for their meat, and for their skin - and their populations are currently in decline around the world. Not yet classified as endangered, the vulnerable silky shark represents an opportunity for us to step and do our part to protect them before it even gets to that point. Our team met this top predator in the Bahamas, where territorial waters (650,000 square kilometers! ) have been a shark sanctuary by law since 2011.
Photo by @ShawnHeinrichs // If we're brave enough to take the plunge together, we can create a future with a healthy and abundant ocean. Tag a friend in the comments 👇that inspires you to act with courage to ensure a future with #cleanseas.
Photo by @ShawnHeinrichs // Within Raja Ampat in Indonesia, the Misool Marine Reserve represents one of the most pristine reef systems left on earth — one of only a handful of places in the universe where biodiversity is improving rather than declining. ⚡️🌊 What was once a bastion for shark finners, dynamite fishermen, turtle poachers, longliners and gillnetters, is now a fully protected through the steadfast enforcement of @misool foundation’s community rangers. ⠀ In this shot my dear friend and ocean activist @mishajannard explores some of the richest reefs on the planet, capturing her experience on her @reddigitalcinema Monstro, creating terabytes of stunning 8K footage for use in future conservation stories. Huge thank you to RED for all your generous support and for creating such powerful Weapon Of Mass Construction! ⚡️🎥 @bluespherefoundation @sealegacy @lonelywhale @indonesianoceanpride #protectwestpapua #provinsikonservasi #fbf
Photo by @shawnheinrichs // From mantas to #mako sharks, every marine species needs and deserves our protection. Our recent #CITES4Sharks campaign demonstrated the power we have when we work together to stand up for sharks and all of the ocean's animals. Together, we were able to start #turningthetide for mako sharks, giant guitarfish, and wedgefish, all of which earned @CITES Appendix II protections thanks to your support. Join us as we continue our work to safeguard the planet’s oceans, threatened marine species and habitats. Click the link in our bio to learn more.⠀
Photo by @PaulNicklen // "Across our oceans, marine mammals like these orcas are under attack from human activities. This year, we fought hard to protect them from illegal hunting, overfishing, petroleum production, industrial pollution and unregulated tourism. But our work is just beginning. With Japan re-opening commercial whaling, foundation fish stocks disappearing and climate change pushing marine mammals to the brink, we need to do more next year. To do that, we need you to give. As a small non-profit, our work is funded solely by grants and your donations. And today is the last day for us to meet our fund-raising goals for 2019. Please, visit the link in our bio to donate now. (American donations are tax-deductible ). It only takes two minutes for you to make an ocean of difference. Together, we are stronger. Together, we can create healthy and abundant oceans. Together, we can keep #TurningTheTide. On behalf of all our wild marine species and spaces, we say thank you, from the bottom on our ocean-loving hearts."
Today is International #EcoTourism day, but what does #EcoTourism really mean? Our founder @ShawnHeinrichs has been working in the field for decades, helping to shift communities away from killing and towards conservation. In 2009 he and @jim_abernethy ventured to explore the pristine water off the coast of Isla Mujeres in Mexico. What they found was the largest aggregation of whale sharks ever before seen. Like many subsistence-based coastal communities, a majority of the fishermen in Isla Mujeres used to hunt these sharks. As you might imagine, when Shawn and Jim approached the fisherman about changing their practices from killing to conserving these magical animals they were met with skepticism. However, after years of working with the fisherman directly and proving a model that makes these sharks worth more alive than dead, the waters off Isla Mujeres now boast a thriving market for eco tourism and boat captains who once killed these sharks now working in collaboration to protect them. As Shawn says, “We must be practical in conservation and this is an excellent example.” Do you have questions about #ecotourism? Let us know in the comments and @ShawnHeinrichs will answer!
Photo by @mitty // Coral reefs are one of the biggest producers of oxygen on earth, but today 75% of reefs are facing the threat of destruction. Drop a 💙 in the comments if you think coral is worth protecting! 👇⠀ ⠀ The @coralgardeners are a group of youth activists in French Polynesia fighting to save our #ocean by restoring reefs through coral gardening and education. Tap through to learn more about their work and how you can join their movement from all around the world.
Convenience of caring? Each year an estimated 8-12 million tonnes of new plastic waste enters our ocean. This plastic, much of it single-use, does not go "away" but instead breaks down into smaller and smaller pieces known as microplastics. The ocean, and its animals, deserve better. @ShawnHeinrichs photographed @LonelyWhale co-founder @AdrianGrenier off the coast of Indonesia where the two were on expedition to document the #plasticpollution crisis after supporting the @UNEnvironment 's launch of the #CleanSeas campaign. Follow @LonelyWhale for updates on their work to help #beatplasticpollution and learn how you can get involved. #HydrateLike #StopSucking
Photo by @ShawnHeinrichs // WISDOM - “If future generations are to remember us with gratitude rather than contempt, we must leave them something more than the miracles of technology, we must leave them a glimpse of the world as it was in the beginning.” – Lindon Johnson⠀ It is our duty, each and everyone of us, to put aside indifference and fear, to act now to ensure these magnificent beings thrive long into the future. 🐋💙🙏💙⠀ #bethechange⠀ #lightonecandle @lonelywhale ⠀ @bluespherefoundation ⠀ @sealegacy
Photo by @ShawnHeinrichs // "AWAKENING - I often try to describe the feeling I have when I connect with one of these magnificent beings. But as best I try, I'm lost for words to capture that deep, soulful, and even spiritual connection that these gentle manta rays awaken in me when they grace me with their presence. Whether it be brief seconds, minutes or even hours that they share with me, I always find myself craving more... but at the same time deeply grateful for every moment in their company. 🙏🔥🦋🌈⠀ In this image @sabinegt of @misool resort comes belly-to-belly with a curious manta ray during one of the more profound moments of our filming off @talesbylight 🧜♀️❤️🦋⠀ #lovemantas #lovenature"
Photo by @ShawnHeinrichs // "CLIMATE CHANGE - Our climate IS changing and our planet IS warming at an alarming rate, and as a direct consequence of our excessive carbon emissions, our oceans are becoming more acidic. Though a tiny fraction of ‘scientists' debate this truth, the vast majority of climate scientists point to human activity as the primary driver of our current warming trend. Regardless, dramatic climate change is upon us and some scientists predict that the process has become auto-catalytic - even if we completely stopped all emissions today, we may be looking at another 50 years or more of warming. This possibility does not absolve us of our collective responsibility to reduce global emissions with urgency, as we owe it to all species and generations to safeguard their future on Earth. ...⠀ The environmental consequences are terrifying. We are facing the loss of 1/2 of all species one earth in the next 100 years, and the loss of over 90% of all coral reefs by mid century. Its hard not to feel powerless and defeated in the face of such dire predictions, but here is a simple truth. If we continue with our reckless ways then we are helping to ensure these dark predictions become a certainty. However, if we each embrace significant change, collectively we create the possibility for a much brighter future. So in my mind, this is our only rational course of action! ...⠀ We must act RIGHT NOW to mitigate the impact of climate change by shoring up the resilience of our marine ecosystems. It is the ABUNDANCE and DIVERSITY within these systems that will provide for the greatest resilience. Simply put, the greater diversity of corals, sea grasses, mangroves, crustaceans, fish, and marine mammals, etc, and the more we have of them, the greater possibility that our marine ecosystems will survive and recover! We MUST move with urgency to safeguard critical habitats within of our oceans, we must signficantly reduce our extraction of foundation species that support our ocean food-webs, and we must end our assault on keystone species that regulate these systems. ⠀ The choice is yours and our future hinges on it.⠀ #bethechange #lightonecandle"
Photo by @shawnheinrichs // Every corner of our ocean tells a story. When we listen and amplify the stories of the ocean, we encourage people to #ProtectWhatIsPrecious and start #TurningTheTide for a future of #CleanSeas. Share your favorite ocean experience with us in the comments. 👇⠀
Photo by @ShawnHeinrichs // Besides being crucial to the preservation of our oceans, land, and human life, a healthy coral reef is a haven of biodiversity that is constantly shaking hands with the new life that comes with each ocean current — and this makes it a critical pathway to safeguarding the promise for continued discovery in this world. Watch Season 3 of @talesbylight on Netflix and join me on my quest to conserve marine life by capturing its beauty in powerful images. 📷🐢🌊🦈 #TalesByLight @misool resort @untitledfilmworks
Photo by @shawnheinrichs // "LOVE - people often refrain from using the word “love” when it comes to describing connections between any being other than humans. Why is it that so many believe that only humans are capable of feeling love? ⠀ Webster's Dictionary defines love as "a strong affection for another arising out of kinship or personal ties.” When you are blessed to spend even a short time in the company of a mother humpback whale and her calf, the behavior and connection you witness is possibly the greatest manifestation of this definition of love. ❤️🐳 Humans tend to describe other animals in nature using terms that depict them more as objects versus beings. And in so doing, they make "acceptable" all kinds of cruel, destructive, and deplorable acts that one would never condone on humans. It's time we recognize that our biosphere is home to an estimated 8.7 Million species, and odds are we are not the only ones capable of deep feelings. Just ask any compassionate dog owner as a starting point! WHAT DO YOU THINK? ❤️ #startwith1thing #love #compassion #gratitude @bluespherefoundation @sealegacy @lonelywhale "
Photo by @ShawnHeinrichs of @AdrianGrenier // Between 8-12 million tonnes of new plastic waste ends up in the ocean each year. This #plasticpollution crisis is one that requires immediate response by the global community at scale. From rain water to table salt to arctic snow, microplastics are threatening the health of our earth and ocean. These tiny pieces of #plastic are a result of larger everyday plastic items (like #singleuse plastic water bottles ) that never fully degrade but instead break into smaller and smaller pieces. Tap through to learn more about the plastic pollution crisis from our collaborators at @LonelyWhale and how you can take action today to help #beatplasticpollution.⠀ ⠀ #ActNow #CleanSeas #HydrateLike⠀
Repost from @SeaLegacy , photo by @PaulNicklen // "Where is this iceberg now? This photo was taken in 2012 during a trip to Antarctica. As these monumental palaces of floating ice drift away from the continent, they inevitably start to melt. The cold freshwater that drips off the iceberg and into the saltwater ocean influences currents and ocean circulation, even far away from the source. Every iceberg, every drop of water, every molecule...they all work together. We should too."
Repost from @SeaLegacy , photo by @paulnicklen // "Oceans cover 70% of the earth. They regulate climate, take carbon dioxide out of the air, and provide more than 50% of the oxygen that we breathe. And they are in trouble. Plastic fills the bellies of seabirds and giant turtles and sharks. Rising water temperatures bleach coral reefs. Water acidification puts all ocean life at risk. At SeaLegacy, we believe that we can all make a difference to the future of our oceans if we work together. Over the past 19 days, we have shared tips about the changes that you can make right at home, and you’ve responded; by interacting with us and with each other, by sharing all of the creative ways that you’re already trying to make an impact. Thank you for being a part of a community that cares so deeply about the oceans. Share the link in our bio for all 19 tips and share them with your friends and family. Let’s keep #TurningTheTide in 2019!"
Photo by @mitty // Over 70% of the oxygen we breathe comes from our ocean - that's every other breath. ⠀ ⠀ Drop a 💙 in the comments if you'll join us in protecting our critical, shared life source!⠀
Photo by @ShawnHeinrichs // "ABUNDANCE - when you consider the unfathomable diversity and abundance of species that fill our oceans, we are truly blessed to have any opportunities to experience such wonders in our lifetimes, The oceans are so prolific and so resilient, yet we have pushed them to the limits of their capacity to withstand the onslaught of industrial-scale fisheries, unchecked widespread coastal development, toxic runoff from industrial farming, mining and logging, and a rising tide of plastics pollution. In spite of this, there is still so much worth defending and we must choose to act each and every days, in our choices about how we consume and dispose, to ensure our oceans thrive long into the future. In places like @misool resort people are drawing the line in the sand and taking a stand for nature, and protecting some of the last great relatively intact marine ecosystems on earth. It is time we join together and take a decisive stand for nature, for our the health of our planet, and for the future of all species on earth.⠀ #bethechance⠀ #lightonecandle⠀ #turningthetide"
Photo by @ShawnHeinrichs // An estimated 300 million tonnes of new plastic are produced every single-use yet less than 10% of all plastic created has been recycled. 🤯⠀ ⠀ What is your commitment to #turningthetide on #plasticpollution? Let us know your commitment in the comments. 👇 It could be as simple as saying no to #plastic straws, or committing to bringing your own #reusable bag when shopping (to avoid scenarios like this one 👆 )!
Images have the power to connect and change the world, giving voices to people, cultures, nature and past generations – allowing them to be heard. In our founder @ShawnHeinrichs ’ episode of @TalesByLight , he takes viewers behind the lens and into his world of conservation. Shawn shares how we work to protect some of the most beautiful and vulnerable aspects of our world through the power of images and storytelling. Watch Shawn’s episode on season 3, episode 2 of #TalesByLight and let us know your favorite part in the comments!
Repost from @SeaLegacy , photo by @PaulNicklen // "What story do you think this photo tells? @PaulNicklen keeps a delicate balance of art, science, and conservation in mind when working to strengthen the world's attention and connection to the ferocious but fragile polar environments. Each photo can start a conversation or spark an interest to take action that makes lasting changes to our planet and our mindset - but only if you, the viewer, stops and asks why or what that photo means. Take a moment to bring life, understanding, and emotion to nature, and stay connected to our global movement to protect and restore our ocean by joining #TheTide, linked in our bio."
Video by @shawnheinrichs // Imagine a place, secluded, pristine, and wild, just south of the equator, and just beyond the horizon. Imagine a place where mantas dance and turtles forage, where a new generation is born and coral reefs explode with life. Welcome to @misool resort! Misool founders Andrew and Marit Miners leased a 120,000-hectare seascape from local communities and turned it into a protected area where all fishing is prohibited. The marine reserve is patrolled by local rangers, who report incidents of illegal fishing. Since its inception in 2005, the reserve has experienced a massive resurgence in key species, including apex predators such as sharks, whose presence is a sure sign of a healthy reef ecosystem. Between 2007 and 2013, the total biomass of the marine reserve increased by 250% and in the case of some species, by as much as 600%. This turnaround is made more notable by the fact that the Misool site used to be a shark-finning camp. The Miners collaborated with environmental NGO Conservation International and regional government to declare the whole of Raja Ampat a reserve for sharks and rays. This protection for rays has since been extended to the whole of Indonesia. Thank you to @johnnylagenheim and @natgeo for featuring Misool in the latest story, "Four inspiring ways humans are tackling the crisis in our oceans.” You can check out the full article at the link in our bio. It's a great read, filled with innovation and inspiration. #protectwestpapua #provinsikonservasi
Photo by @shawnheinrichs // In recent years, manta rays have gained significant international attention as iconic marine species, in large part due to a concerted effort to raise awareness for these magnificent animals and the threats they are facing from unsustainable fisheries. However, manta ray’s smaller cousins the mobula rays, a genus of nine described species commonly referred to as ‘devil rays’, have remained largely obscured from the public eye, but are just as threatened as manta rays. Back in 2009, while investigating shark fisheries in Southeast Asia, we uncovered an alarming trend – fishermen who hunted sharks for the shark fin trade, were now also targeting manta and devil rays. The question we had to answer was, why? A series of investigations revealed that the primary driver for these manta and devil ray fisheries was the expanding market for their gill plates, the feather-like structures that these rays use to filter plankton from the water. Like mantas, devil rays take a long time to reach maturity and produce only one pup per pregnancy. This low productivity means that even moderate fishing can quickly wipe out regional populations. Unregulated fisheries have already devastated devil ray populations, and some local populations have almost disappeared, while other major declines have likely occurred unnoticed. If trends continue, these gentle animals will be driven to the brink of extinction. Protecting devil rays will also make it easier to enforce manta ray protections, as the specialized training to distinguish between the gill plates of different species will no longer be required. Effective conservation of mantas and devil rays requires that we protect both. Fortunately a decision was adopted by consensus in 2016 to include all Devil Rays (Mobula spp. ) in @CITES Appendix II, meaning that all international trade in Devil Rays is now under strict trade controls. 💙🦋 #loveminimantas #cites4seas #turningthetide #worthmorealive #tbt @vulcaninc @mantatrust @sealegacy
#MotivationMonday brought to you by our founder @shawnheinrichs : “Show up for the good days and bad days, for the hard times and easy times, for the joy and the sorrow, for the successes and failures, for hope and desperation, for your friends, family, and community…but most of all show up for yourself. Show up for all that comes your way because that is what LIFE is about. We do not always control what happens to us, but we do CHOOSE how we show up for it. Often in the most difficult times, the times of greatest despair and loss, we can find the most powerful opportunities for growth, forgiveness, healing, and transformation. Now is NOT the time to rage at the DARKNESS. We can and must turn from the SHADOW and into the LIGHT. Now is the time to receive all that life offers, do our internal work and heal our wounds, embrace forgiveness, compassion and empathy, and bring on our most loving and abundant selves, in deep and committed service to all our brothers and sisters, and to all the beings that we share this precious biosphere with. ‘It is better to light one candle than to curse the darkness.’ Are you ready to choose the LIGHT?” 📸 @paulhiltonphoto #lightonecandle #turningthetide #racingextinction
Video by @shawnheinrichs // People often refrain from using the word “love” when it comes to describing connections between any being other than humans. Why is it that so many believe that only humans are capable of feeling love? Webster's Dictionary defines love as "a strong affection for another arising out of kinship or personal ties.” When you are blessed to spend even a short time in the company of a mother humpback whale and her calf, the behavior and connection you witness is possibly the greatest manifestation of this definition of love. ❤️🐳 Humans tend to describe other animals in nature using terms that depict them more as objects versus beings. And in so doing, they make "acceptable" all kinds of cruel, destructive, and deplorable acts that one would never condone on humans. It's time we recognize that our biosphere is home to an estimated 8.7 Million species, and odds are we are not the only ones capable of deep feelings. Just ask any compassionate dog owner as a starting point! WHAT DO YOU THINK? ❤️ #startwith1thing #love #compassion #gratitude @shawnheinrichs @sealegacy @lonelywhale
THROWBACK: All 3 species of thresher sharks were added to Appendix II of @CITES in October 2016. These dramatic and beautiful sharks, with their long caudal fin, are highly prized in the shark fin trade, and are believed to be at the highest risk of extinction of all pelagic sharks. Annual takes of thresher sharks are difficult to determine, as many animals move secretly into the fin trade, but it is believed that well over one million thresher sharks may be harvested annually. Photograph by @shawnheinrichs #CITES4Sharks #RacingExtinction #SaveSharks #CoP17 #TBT #WorthMoreAlive