The Last Ocean Charitable Trust in association with Fisheye Films is launching a nationwide short film competition that will put focus on the last near intact marine ecosystem on Earth, the Ross Sea, Antarctica.
Since 1996 an international fishery, lead by New Zealand fishing companies – has operated in the Ross Sea targeting Antarctic Toothfish, sold as ‘Chilean Sea Bass’ in up-market restaurants around the world.
Scientists believe the fishery is destroying the natural balance in the Ross Sea ecosystem and that this last living laboratory could soon be lost forever. “If we want to understand how a completely healthy marine ecosystem operates, this is our last chance,” says veteran US Antarctic Ecologist Dr David Ainley.
The Christchurch-based Last Ocean Charitable Trust aims to raise awareness of the values of the Ross Sea amongst New Zealanders and encourage protection of this last wild place.
The film competition has two categories, open and secondary school students.
Entrants are able to use footage shot in the Ross Sea by award-winning documentary cameraman Peter Young who hopes the competition will allow others to discover more about this remote place. “The Ross Sea is the most pristine piece of ocean on Earth. Not everyone has the privilege of going there so I hope sharing this footage will impart in some small way the remarkable beauty I experienced in the Ross Sea.”
Young believes that New Zealand, as the nation responsible for introducing fishing in the Ross Sea, now has an obligation to do what it can to protect it.
The Last Ocean Charitable Trust has joined a growing number of international groups including the Antarctic and Southern Ocean Coalition, Greenpeace, IUCN and Mission Blue, calling for the entire Ross Sea to be designated as a no-take marine reserve.
Among the prizes up for grabs in the competition is an expedition holiday to the sub-Antarctic islands aboard Heritage Expedition’s Spirit of Enderby, and a weekend for two in Wellington including dinner Logan Brown Restaurant.
The short film competition will be officially launched in Auckland at Kelly Tarltons on Tuesday June 7 2011. Entries close Friday August 12 2011 with winners to be announced during Conservation Week (September 11-18).
For more information on the competition, please see the Trust’s website www.lastocean.co.nz