Who could have ever imagined that populations of conch, grouper and sea turtles would ever become endangered? Yet, research shows that these species are critically low in numbers and are in danger of dying out.
Dolphin Encounters - Project B.E.A.C.H. (Bahamas Education Association for Cetacean Health), a non-profit element of the Dolphin Encounters facility located on Blue Lagoon Island, has teamed up with the Bahamas Fast Ferries for the Marine Education Poster Contest 2002 entitled, Strive to Survive: Our Endangered Conch, Grouper and Sea Turtles. Students throughout The Bahamas are invited to research some of the reasons why several of The Bahamas most beloved wildlife are becoming endangered and to share their concerns through poster art.
The contest, which will run until 15th May, 2002, has been endorsed by the Bahamas Reef Environment Educational Foundation (BREEF), the Department of Fisheries, the Sea Turtle Survival League, the Department of Education and the Ministry of Tourism, which all serve as a source of information to participating students.
Bahamas Fast Ferries is an ocean dependent company. It is important to us as mariners to have an unquestionable respect for the ocean and that includes safeguarding the wildlife that make our waters their home, said Philip Winter, General Manager of Bahamas Fast Ferries. We are very pleased to sponsor the Marine Education Poster Contest. We hope that students throughout the Bahamas will become more aware of the state of the ocean and the importance of protecting all that inhabits it.
Open to all students throughout The Bahamas, the four entry categories include: kindergarten through second grade, third through fifth grade, sixth through eighth grade and ninth through twelfth grade. A panel of judges recognised for their work in the marine environment will be assembled to view and select the winner.
Research has proven that stocks of fish like grouper, which once inhabited the Caribbean in massive numbers, are now extremely reduced. Fishermen have to go further from shore to find certain wildlife. Sea turtles are in trouble from over-fishing and commercial by-catch, and seventy-five percent of the conch shells discarded are undersized, said Annette Dempsey, Assistant Director of Marine Mammals/Director of Education at Dolphin Encounters.
This contest is an opportunity for Bahamian school children to show us all how important indigenous wildlife is to our way of life in The Bahamas and the need to preserve and protect them.
Awards for the competition have been generously donated by marine-related vendors that depend on the health of the beautiful marine environment of The Bahamas. Sponsors include: Bahamas Fast Ferries, Dolphin Encounters, Stuart`s Cove Aqua Adventures, Nassau Scuba Centre, Jacharic Holdings Ltd., Bahama Divers, Sea Island Adventures, Atlantis, America`s Cup Challenge.
Following the competition, the posters from participants will be laminated and posted throughout the community in recognition of the student`s efforts to help preserve the oceans and its creatures on which we depend.