Finn White-Thomson, a London-based filmmaker and recent MMF volunteer, has been awarded the 2017 Sylvie Earle Conservation Award by the My Hero Film Festival team for his short film about our Nemos Pequenos program in the Bazaruto Archipelago, Mozambique.
Our 3 Priority Regions
- — Have a high number of threatened marine species.
- — Represent the highest levels of ocean biodiversity.
- — Face significant threats from growing human pressures.
Our 3 Core Initiatives
By 2030, we will be one of the main explorers of marine ecosystems, focusing on megafauna as our flagship species. Our current research focuses on species-level population ecology and conservation biology, with considerable overlap between the two areas.
We strive to be both a global and local educator: raising public awareness and inspiring action across the world, while working directly with coastal communities and government officials to enhance understanding and support behavioral change.
We work to improve the management of existing marine protected areas (MPAs) and develop effective, long-term conservation strategies to protect and restore key habitats. On a regional level, we are a trusted conservation leader, empowering local communities to manage marine resources sustainably.
Updates from the Field
After a six-month reef closure to help replenish fish stocks and marine life, the Tofo community and MMF celebrated the reopening of the protected zone on May 11, 2017.
One of my favorite new places to explore is Southeast Asia. At the moment, this region is offering up some of the most exciting opportunities for manta ray research in the world.
Microplastics in our oceans pose a growing concern to megafauna. Manta rays, whale sharks and some other large marine animals are filter feeders, which means they are at risk of ingesting these tiny pieces of plastic. In 2016, we investigated the levels of microplastics in waters where manta rays are feeding in several locations across Indonesia. What we discovered unearthed a shocking reality.
For most Mozambicans, the ocean is something to be feared. Many cannot swim and each year countless drowning fatalities occur along the coastline, as people risk their lives on a daily basis to provide for their families. 52% of Mozambicans are under the age of 18, which provides great opportunity for change. Future Ocean Guardians is our flagship education program which aims to create a new generation of ocean guardians who understand and cherish their marine environment.
To effectively conserve marine wildlife, such as mantas and whale sharks, we must have a firm grasp on their global and regional ecology. Manta rays and whale sharks have natural spot patterns (‘fingerprints’) that do not change markedly over time, allowing us to identify each individual using photographs. This means anyone with an underwater camera can become a ‘citizen scientist’ and help us identify and track these majestic animals across the world.
Sharks and rays are increasingly being identified as threatened with extinction, prompting urgent assessments of their local or regional populations. We need accurate information on population size, structure and connectivity to understand the conservation requirements of a species, develop appropriate management strategies and monitor population health over time.
There are several sites where large numbers of whale sharks aggregate, attracting tourists from all over the world. Most of the sharks present at these sites are juvenile males between four and nine meters in length. Of the 7,700 individual sharks identified in the global whale shark database around 2/3 are male. Where are all the females? Where are the adults (and babies) of either sex?
Our flagship conservation initiative, the Sustainable Seas Program, aims to empower communities to manage their marine ecosystems in a sustainable way. We are helping members of the community discover and sustain alternative livelihoods as well as protect their coastal ecosystems, benefitting both present and future generations.