April 03, 2021
The targets: loggerhead turtles, silky sharks and sailfish. The mission: figure out how many of them are left.
UK To Fund Underwater Camera Network To Monitor Deep Ocean Wildlife
The UK announced on Saturday it would launch a worldwide effort to monitor wildlife in the open oceans, hoping to fill a blue hole of scientific knowledge and get a clearer sense of which aquatic populations are under threat.
The project, akin to an underwater spy network, will fund a fleet of small action cameras, complete with bait, to be deployed about 30 feet beneath the ocean’s surface. Researchers will place a camera in the water where they hope to gather data, and it will record anything that swims near within a given window of time. The plan is for the project to span the globe, covering four oceans and the Caribbean in waters near 10 of the UK’s overseas territories.
Jessica Meeuwig, a professor at the University of Western Australia and a leader of the project, said that international focus on ocean health usually centres on iconic landmarks like the Great Barrier Reef. But many of the world’s international waters, hundreds of miles offshore, are still not well understood.
“Most people assume it’s fine because it’s out of sight, out of mind,” Meeuwig said, adding that many people rarely look beyond the “blue curtain” of the ocean’s surface. “People don’t actually know what wildlife exists.”
Only 7.65% of the world’s oceans are currently designated as marine protected areas, or MPAs, and just over 1% of that area lies within the “high seas,” the oceanic regions far from land that don’t fall under any one country’s jurisdiction.The intelligence network has already been tested, producing footage of shimmering mahi-mahi, undulating marlin and powerful yellowfin tuna. Researchers also hope to capture footage of the Gould’s squid, sea snakes and bottlenose wedgefish. Over time, researchers plan to measure populations again and again to see if they’re stable, or if the one-two punch of overfishing and climate change is causing them to decline.
The project bolsters an international effort known as 30x30, which aims to protect 30% of the planet’s land and water by 2030 – a critical benchmark that conservationists say must be met to prevent many species from collapsing.
US President Joe Biden has signed on to the 30x30 pledge, directing the Interior Department to craft a plan to meet or exceed that goal. The United States is further ahead than many countries in its protection plans, particularly with former President Barack Obama’s expansion of the Papahānaumokuākea Marine National Monument in HAWAII in 2016 and the creation of the Northeast Canyons and Seamounts Marine National Monument, off the coast of New England, later that year.Meeuwig said the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic has given many policymakers in the UK a renewed appreciation of the importance of science – and oceanic research is benefiting as a result.
“One thing that Covid has done is put more value on science,” she said. “I think we’re starting to understand that science matters again.”
The study couldn’t come at a more pressing time. A study in January found that populations of oceanic sharks and rays have fallen by more than 70% since 1970, linked primarily to overfishing for their fins and other body parts. Scientists have also warned for a decade that yellowfin and bluefin tuna populations are collapsing, and the threat of overfishing imperils many iconic fish popular on the dinner plate.
But encouraging studies have highlighted the potential of a project like the 30x30 initiative. Research published last month in the journal Nature found that increasing the number and scope of marine protected areas would boost marine biodiversity and significantly expand the amount of fish humans can catch. Doing so would also provide a climate boon as the ocean would be able to sequester carbon emissions, researchers found.
“It’s clear that humanity and the economy will benefit from a healthier ocean,” Enric Sala, a lead author of the study, told National Geographic in March. “And we can realize those benefits quickly if countries work together to protect at least 30% of the ocean by 2030.”
The world’s oceans are in dire straits, and Meeuwig said she didn’t want to suggest otherwise. But the ability to gather more information can only be a good thing.
“I don’t want to pretend that there’s not bad news for the oceans,” Meeuwig said. “But by providing this data where you can assist decision makers ... that’s how we halt the bad trends.”
“There’s more openness among politicians these days to accept that science matters,” she added. “I haven’t seen more enthusiasm any time in the past 10 years.”
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Star Wars Director Says It's About Time A Woman Makes A Star Wars Movie
Jan 02, 2024
Oscar-winning documentary filmmaker Sharmeed Obaid-Chinoy is directing an upcoming Star Wars movie that brings back Daisy Ridley in the role of Rey. Obaid-Chinoy will become the first woman to direct a Star Wars film, dating back to the franchise's origins in the 1970s. Speaking about this, Obaid-Chinoy told CNN that she is "very thrilled" to make the movie and create something that is "very special.""We're in 2024 now, and I think it's about time we had a woman come forward to shape the story in a galaxy far, far away," she said.Obaid-Chinoy won Best Documentary, Short Subjects Academy Awards for Saving Face (2012) and A Girl in the River: The Price of Forgiveness (2015).In 2020, Lucasfilm boss Kathleen Kennedy told the BBC that a woman would eventually direct a Star Wars movie, saying that would "absolutely" happen, "without question." Victoria Mahoney was a second unit director on The Rise of Skywalker, but a woman has never claimed a top directing credit on a Star Wars movie.On the TV side of things, The Mandalorian has featured a number of female directors, including Deborah Chow and Bryce Dallas Howard. Chow went on to direct the Obi-Wan TV series, too.Another high-profile franchise that has never had a female director is James Bond. Producer Barbara Broccoli and Skyfall director Sam Mendes have both said they want to see a woman direct a future 007 film.As for Obaid-Chinoy's Star Wars movie, little is known about it apart from the fact that Ridley will come back to play Rey. It is expected that this film will be the first of the three new Star Wars films to come to theaters, possibly releasing in December 2025.According to a report, Peaky Blinders creator Steven Knight is writing the Rey movie, taking over for Damon Lindelof and Justin Britt-Gibson.
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NBA Names Clare Akamanzi CEO Of NBA Africa
Jan 02, 2024 15:29
The NBA named Clare Akamanzi – an accomplished business executive and international trade and investment lawyer – as CEO of NBA Africa. Akamanzi will start her position on Jan. 23, 2024, and report to NBA Deputy Commissioner and Chief Operating Officer Mark Tatum. In this role, Akamanzi will oversee the NBA’s business and basketball development efforts in Africa and will be responsible for continuing to grow the popularity of basketball, the NBA and the Basketball Africa League (BAL) across the continent, including through grassroots basketball development, media distribution, corporate partnerships, and social responsibility initiatives that improve the livelihoods of African youth and families. For the last six and a half years, Akamanzi was CEO of Rwanda Development Board (RDB), where she spearheaded Rwanda’s economic development by enabling private sector growth. Under Akamanzi’s leadership, RDB implemented several business policy reforms and initiatives that led to significant investment and development for the country, including through partnerships with the BAL, Arsenal FC, Paris Saint-Germain FC, FC Bayern Munich and TIME Magazine, among others. “Clare’s business acumen, international experience and familiarity with basketball and the NBA make her the ideal executive to lead our business in Africa,” says Tatum. “NBA Africa and the Basketball Africa League are well-positioned for continued growth, and under Clare’s leadership we believe these initiatives will transform economies, communities and lives across the continent.” “I’ve seen firsthand how sports can positively impact businesses, families and communities in Africa, and the NBA and the BAL are a perfect example of that,” says Akamanzi. “The NBA has done an incredible job growing basketball and the economy around it across the continent, and I’m excited about the enormous opportunities ahead to build on that momentum.” Previously, Akamanzi was Chief Operating Officer of RDB and Head of Strategy and Policy Unit, Office of the President of the Republic of Rwanda. She has extensive international trade, business and diplomatic experience, having previously worked for the Rwandan Government at the World Trade Organization in Geneva, Switzerland and at the Rwandan Embassy in London, England. Akamanzi has worked or studied in seven different countries and holds an honorary LLD from Concordia University in Montreal, Canada, in recognition of her work in Rwanda. She earned a master’s degree in public administration from Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government in Cambridge, Massachusetts, where she was the recipient of three prestigious awards for academic excellence and distinguished contribution to the community: the Lucius N. Littauer Fellows Award, the Raymond & Josephine Vernon Award and the Robert Kennedy Public Service Award. In addition, Akamanzi holds a Master of Laws degree in international trade and investments from the University of Pretoria in South Africa, and a Bachelor of Laws degree from Makerere University in Kampala, Uganda. Akamanzi has served on several company boards, including the World Health Organization (WHO) Foundation, ECOBANK and Aviation, Travel and Logistics (ATL) company. She was recognized by Forbes as one of Africa’s Top 50 Powerful Women in 2020.
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