Tagging Sharks in the Bahamas with Summit Series, The Nature Conservancy and the Waitt Institute

We’re hitting the ground sprinting in 2012 as we join our friends at Summit Series and The Nature Conservancy this week for our first filming expedition of the year in the Bahamas.

The trip is made possible by the Waitt Institute, which serves as a catalyst for research and exploration by aligning the resources and expertise of collaborating institutions and agencies, and coordinating and conducting expeditionary science throughout the world’s oceans and coastal areas.

Last year, Summit Series – a community of entrepreneurs, artists, activists and scholars dedicated to using business and collaboration as tools to improve the world – convened its first-ever Summit at Sea in the Bahamas in an effort to raise awareness of the importance of the world’s oceans and highlight solutions for saving it.

One attendee had a particularly innovative idea. Kristofor Lofgren, friend of OWOO and founder of Bamboo Sushi, the country’s first sustainable sushi restaurant, presented the idea to use revenue from his restaurant to help create marine protected areas where fish could find sanctuary and reproduce. So when Lofrgen called Summit Series and said: “Let’s create a marine protected area,” – they jumped.

Turns out, Summit at Sea was held adjacent to a 70 square-mile marine protected area (MPA) that was in critical need of help. The Summit Series crew learned that although this MPA is one of the most biologically diverse areas in the Bahamas, it’s protected in name only. For more than a decade, the area has suffered from a lack of infrastructure, enforcement and the true protection promised in its MPA status.

So Summit Series partnered up with The Nature Conservancy on a massive campaign to raise the $500,000 needed to manage the park effectively and protect it for generations to come.

Over the past year, the project has driven nearly $1 million in fundraising, allowing the park to get up and running within a matter of months after Summit Series became involved.

So this week, we’re in the Bahamas on Expedition Tiger Shark to join Summit Series, The Nature Conservancy, Lofgren, The Waitt Institute and others to conduct and film shark research that is critical to understanding their behavior so that we can better protect these keystone species.

Aerial view of the Bahamas snapped on our GoPro by OWOO crew member Marc Ostrick

As the official media partner for the expedition, OWOO’s goal is to bring to life the many compelling stories associated with this larger project to safeguard the Bahamas MPA – a key focus of our campaign. This means using our RED Epic, Canon DSLR and GoPro cameras to capture stunning underwater and aerial footage of the tiger shark tagging process and the incredible marine biodiversity in the Bahamas MPA, in addition to showcasing the amazing group of people gathered on the boat that have helped make this project possible.

To get excited for what’s to come, watch the below video of M Sanjayan, a lead scientist for The Nature Conservancy, at last year’s Summit at Sea as he discusses why we need to protect the ocean.

M Sanjayan from Summit Series on Vimeo.


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