A warm welcome to all Friends Of the Last Ocean (FOLO)
Winter has set in and Christchurch continues to shake - making life in the Last Ocean office at times quite challenging. We’ve managed to keep very busy however.
In this newsletter: our short film competition, World Oceans Day, Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade (MFAT) Ross Sea stakeholder meetings, iconic NZ musician Dave Dobbyn talks on the Ross Sea, we profile Trust chairman Dr Peter Wilson, and learn about an amazing Last Ocean local.
Remember you can follow us on Facebook and Twitter too.
Short Film Competition launch – Kelly Tarltons, June 7 2011
Our New Zealand-wide short film competition was launched at Kelly Tarlton’s Underwater World in Auckland on the eve of World Oceans Day. Around 70 guests explored the attraction before writer, actor and television presenter Peter Elliott introduced the evening and invited Pete Young to speak. Pete talked about the competition, his connection with the Ross Sea and why the Last Ocean Trust wants to help protect this special part of the world.
The competition offers participants the opportunity to download footage and photos and craft them into a short film exploring “Why the Ross Sea is special”. The material for downloading has been provided by award winning documentary cameraman Peter Young with underwater shots provided by NHNZ Moving Images and photographs by US conservation photographer and PEW Fellow, John Weller.
The aim of the competition is to share the Trust's passion for this unique area, raise awareness of it and encourage people to visit our website and learn more about the issues the Ross Sea faces. It appears to be working, the competition has brought over 1200 visitors to our site in the past few weeks and we are confident there will be many more.
Check out the competition homepage for information on how to get involved. Tell your creative friends about it too – there are some fabulous prizes up for grabs. These include a single berth on a sub-Antarctic voyage, kindly sponsored by Heritage Expeditions: a weekend in Wellington (which includes dinner for two at 'NZ Restaurant of the Year' Logan Brown and staying at the The Museum Hotel) and cameras and cash prizes for the other finalists. If you want to take part your film must be submitted by August 12, and winners will be announced during New Zealand Conservation Week (Sept 11-18).
Thanks to Kelly Tarlton’s for their help on the evening and also to our supporters; Heritage Expeditions, Fisheye Films, Logan Brown Restaurant, Museum Hotel Wellington and the FOLO members who have assisted with cash for prizes.
World Oceans Day - June 8 2011
On World Oceans Day Television New Zealand's Breakfast Show invited Peter Young to talk about the Ross Sea and the work of the Last Ocean Trust.
This year’s theme for World Oceans Day was “Youth: the next wave for change” which is part of the thinking behind the schools category
for our film competition – we want young people to learn about and
care for the Ross Sea. See what Pete had to say
Ross Sea MPA on NZ's political radar
Over the past eight weeks the New Zealand Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade (who represent NZ’s interest in Antarctica) have run a series of stakeholder meetings for parties interested in marine protection for the Ross Sea.
These meetings involved NGOs including Last Ocean, ECO, Greenpeace and WWF; government scientists, fishing industry representatives and other interested groups. Carolyn Schwalger, head of the Antarctic Policy Unit for MFAT, chaired the meetings.
Attending the meetings on behalf of the Last Ocean was Peter Young and Peter Wilson. They presented the view that the Ross Sea has more value as an intact marine ecosystem than as a fishing ground. They also expressed our desire to see the entire Ross Sea continental shelf and slope protected in order to preserve the area’s unique biodiversity and intact qualities. The Last Ocean supports the proposal presented to CCAMLR by the Antarctic and Southern Ocean Coalition (ASOC). This proposal is supported by two comprehensive scientific papers that provide strong evidence as to why the Ross Sea shelf and slope should be protected.
Short film highlights key issues surrounding the Ross Sea
Peter Young is currently working on a feature-length documentary for the Last Ocean. He recently produced a five-minute promo outlining the key aspects of the issue. Check it out here:
News & views from the Ross Sea - interview with Dave Dobbyn
Dave Dobbyn is a renowned New Zealand singer/song-writer. He was invited to visit the Ross Sea region in November 2010 as one of New Zealand’s Antarctic Arts Fellows under the Invited Artists Programme.
Dave was able to visit the historic huts of Ross Island, the McMurdo Dry Valleys and Adélie penguin rookery at Cape Royds. He even played a gig for staff at the Scott Base bar, 'The Tatty Flag'.
He is now working on some music inspired by his time on the Ice. Peter Young caught up with Dave in Auckland to interview him for the upcoming Last Ocean documentary:
You can read more about Dave's work at www.davedobbyn.co.nz
Meet The Team - Peter Wilson,Chairman of the Last Ocean Charitable Trust
Peter's annual migration to Antarctica began in 1980 to monitor Adélie penguin populations in the Ross Sea. On this project he worked closely with US Antarctic Ecologist and Last Ocean co-founder, Dr. David Ainley. Peter’s involvement with Antarctica also includes 14 years as New Zealand’s representative on the Ecosystem Monitoring and Management (EMM) Committee for CCAMLR so he brings well rounded experience to his role as chairman of the Last Ocean Trust. After 25 summers on the ice Peter has become a passionate advocate for the preservation of this remarkable marine ecosystem.
Peter says, “The Ross Sea is special to me not only as a scientist but as a citizen who cares about the well-being of our planet. Given the declining state of our oceans these last wild places are becoming increasingly important and need to be protected for the benefit and future of us all.”
Last Ocean locals : Antarctic toothfish
Filling a crucial role in the Ross Sea food-web is a large, cod-like fish – the Antarctic toothfish. These giants of the icy water can grow to more than two metres in length and reach weights of 150kg. There are no sharks in Antarctic waters so toothfish fill this role, actively feeding on squid and smaller fish. At the other end of the scale, Antarctic toothfish are preyed upon by a host of larger locals, including Weddell seals and toothed whales.
Toothfish demonstrate some remarkable physiology in order to thrive in the icy waters of the Ross Sea. For starters their heart beats once every six seconds. This slow metabolism means they are long-lived, reaching upwards of 50 years or more. Toothfish produce antifreeze glycoproteins to prevent their body tissues from freezing in the Ross Sea's sub-zero habitat.
Watch the short video including comments from NZ toothfish biologist Assoc. Prof. Clive Evans.
Photos/footage Paul A. Cziko, Chris Cheng & Rob Robbins
Donate to the Last Ocean
The Last Ocean Charitable Trust relies completely on donations to keep up our campaign for the protection of the Ross Sea. If you feel our work is important, you can help keep us on track by making a secure online donation here.
Our petition lobbying the New Zealand Government to change their stance on commercial fishing activities in the Ross Sea recently gained 500 signatures. It only takes a minute to sign – make sure you keep spreading this with your friends and colleagues!
Thanks for taking the time to read our newsletter. Please forward it on to your friends and family.
We will soon be combining our web strategy with Last Ocean USA, so keep an eye out for that too.
If you have any comments, feedback or story ideas, please email kate(at)lastocean.co.nz
Until next time...
Kate Beer, Coordinator