Monday, November 8, 2010

‘Moving Sushi’ trip boosts marine film

MARINE DREAM: Mike Markovina and Linda Schonknecht during their global conservation trek. 

GLOBAL marine conservation efforts are set to receive a boost thanks to an epic 100000km round the world road trip by two Rhodes University graduates.

Video footage, photographs and diary entries from the two-year “Moving Sushi Expedition” to some of the most remote and inaccessible places on earth is now being edited into a documentary film by journalist Linda Schonknecht, 27, and ichthyologist Mike Markovina, 30.

Although marine resources are seriously threatened, mainly by overfishing and pollution, the Cape Town couple are inspired and energised by the work being done by ordinary people .

“The world’s oceans are in deep trouble,” Schonknecht said.
“From the northernmost reaches of the Arctic Circle to the Southern Ocean around Antarctica, the seas are being stripped at an unprecedented rate.”

While the global problem of over-exploitation of marine resources has received widespread coverage in hard-hitting – and award winning – documentaries like The Cove and The End Of The Line, not much coverage has been given to grassroots conservation efforts. According to Markovina the level of global exploitation – which has been estimated at 100 million tons of fish a year – has made the “future sustainability of marine resources and fish stocks, in particular, questionable”.

“Managing global marine resources is impossible without appropriate knowledge and research, and public awareness and participation is essential.”

Over the past 100 years, many marine species have declined “by nearly 90 percent” – and it is not just fish under threat.

“Every aspect of the ocean is being mined for its resources – kelp forests, sandy shores, estuaries and the deep ocean are all relentlessly exploited by a range of fishing strategies and advanced technologies with subsequent devastating effects.”

The Moving Sushi Expedition name was inspired by the fact that “tuna spend more time in the air travelling across continents to supply people with sushi meat than it does in the water.”

The world trip idea came about when the couple were working for the Wildlife Conservation Society in Gabon in 2007 alongside local people trying to protect marine resources and inform local fishing communities . - By DAVID MACGREGOR

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