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Coral Reef Decline Dominates Winners of
Shifting Baselines Photo Contest

LOS ANGELES (August 2, 2004) – What better way to show ocean decline than with photos? This revelation drove the first Shifting Baselines Photo Contest. Nearly 100 submissions came in from 18 countries around the world showing everything from the devastating effects of shark fin fishing in Palau to people swimming on a California beach, oblivious to the power plant smokestacks in their midst. The winners can be viewed at: http://www.shiftingbaselines.org/news/photocont.html

Five judges (two underwater photographers, two marine biologists, and famed television producer Norman Lear) evaluated the submissions based on a combination of how compelling the images were and how effectively they communicated the idea of “shifting baselines” which essentially means lowered standards.

Dying corals stole the show. First and Second Places went to sets of photographs showing the death of coral reefs in the Caribbean. The photos range from 1957 to 2004 and show individual coral heads slowly dying over the years. Third place went to “ Crowded Island,” a photo from Indonesia of a tiny flat island so packed with housing that virtually every square foot is taken.

“Going over this material only serves to heighten the shifting baselines concept,” judge Norman Lear said. Fellow judge/marine photographer and filmmaker Bob Talbot added, “There is an urgency to ocean decline that these photos convey powerfully.”

The winners plus the top nine finalists can be viewed on the Shifting Baselines website. Shifting Baselines is a collaborative communications project sponsored by 19 partner groups including founding partners The Ocean Conservancy, Scripps Institution of Oceanography, and the Surfrider Foundation.

For more information visit: www.shiftingbaselines.org

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(323) 960-4516

Click here to view the winner photographs