Manta & Whale Shark Educational Video
To produce a thirty-minute film about why these species should be protected and the benefits of doing so. The film will be targeted at both the general public and the national government. The film will illustrate that a healthy marine ecosystem is vital to the country and that these species in particular can bring valuable tourist dollars to national and local economies.
Why this is important:
Mozambique is a key marine hotspot for the iconic whale shark and manta ray. These populations, however, are under severe threat. Recent figures from the Mozambican-based Marine Megafauna Association show that whale shark sightings have declined by 62% since 2005 and reef manta sightings have fallen by 85% since 2003.
Mozambique is one of the world’s poorest countries with a coastline of almost 3000km. Most people however are wary of the sea and its inhabitants and are unaware that its resources are under threat. This film and the awareness campaign that will follow its launch looks to educate and empower communities so that they can make informed decisions, which if successful they will be the ultimate beneficiaries of.
In this modern world of wall-to-wall wildlife documentaries in the developed world it is easy to forget that in countries like Mozambique very few people have had the opportunity to see and learn about what lies beneath the waves. This film will look to redress this balance by making the film freely available to watch and to inspire, through a positive message and charismatic role model in Mozambican presenter Carlos Macuacua.
In addition the film will make a real difference by giving the partner organisations a fantastic high profile tool with which to reach a wide and diverse audience, in order to push through legislation to protect whale sharks, manta rays and their aggregation hotspots.
The collaborators for this film have all lived and worked in conjunction for many years in Inhambane Province, Mozambique. The region is rich in marine life and is one of the world’s most important aggregation sites for whale sharks and manta rays. Due to their work in their various capacities, they have great knowledge of both the problems facing these species as well as how to engage the general public and key decision makers in their protection.
In 2010/2011 the same collaborators combined to produce Shiver (the collective noun for sharks) a one-hour educational film that was produced for a Mozambican audience (http://vimeo.com/28539793). The documentary investigated the shark finning crisis in Mozambique, achieving critical acclaim and more importantly, real change at a local and national level. The collaborators saw the value of the Shiver in raising public awareness and as an educational tool. They wanted to maintain and build on the momentum caused by Shiver by producing a new film, which could be used as a catalyst in the protection of whale sharks and manta rays.
The pressing need to address this issue was shown by the recent publication of scientific data produced by the Marine Megafauna Association whose data showed dramatic reductions in sightings of these species.
Aims and Objectives
The goal of the film is for it to be a tool to be used by partner conservation and community groups to:
- Lobby government to push through national legislation to protect whale shark and manta rays and to enforce existing fisheries legislation.
- The creation of a well managed Marine Protected Area in Inhambane Province the hotspot for these two species.
- To create awareness across the country of the threat to these species and the marine environment in general. And to educate people about why they should care about this environment and how a healthy marine ecosystem can benefit them and future generations.
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