The GIRL of THE SEA of CORTEZ is my favorite Peter Benchley novel. It's a high-spirited adventure story that speaks to my personal love of the ocean and all its fascinating creatures. The story takes you under the sea to experience the spectacular, but it also shares the threats facing our seas. While this book was written 30 years ago, Peter was prescient about mans complex relationship to the sea. This captivating story is even more relevant today than ever.

--Gregory S. Stone, Ph.D., Chief Scientist for Oceans, Conservation International

"The ocean drives the water cycle, the carbon cycle, the oxygen cycle, the nitrogen cycle … it drives the way the world works. Even if you never touch the ocean, the ocean touches you every day. And it’s only now, as we get into the 21st century, that we’re beginning to put the blue part of the planet on the balance sheet."
--Sylvia Earle

"It is our responsibility to preserve and cherish this pale blue dot, the only home we've ever known."
--Carl Sagan, Astronomer + Author



 “For most of history, man has had to fight nature to survive; in this century he is beginning to realize that, in order to survive, he must protect it.”
--Jacques Cousteau, Oceanographer + Explorer


Shark fans flock to Martha's Vineyard for "JawsFest"

Cue those ominous strings from Jaws.
Today marks the start of JawsFest: The Tribute, a four-day salute to Steven Spielberg's blockbuster 1975 film that transformed the quiet summer enclave of Martha's Vineyard, Mass. into fictional Amity Island - the temporary haunt of a mechanical monster named Bruce.


The movie's phenomenal success was followed by an explosion in summer crowds on the island, and a boom in construction of lavish homes.

Before "Jaws," the average summer tourist population was about 5,000 people. After it was released, the figure ballooned to 15,000. It is now about 75,000, but rises to 130,000 during the busiest weeks.

As Reuters reports, the movie's success was followed by a boom in home construction and an explosion in summer crowds on the island. Before Jaws, the average summer tourist population was about 5,000 people. After its release, the figure ballooned to 15,000.

It's now about 75,000, but rises to 130,000 during the busiest weeks - including this one, when fans will descend on the island for Jaws-related trivia hunts, location tours, discussions and documentaries about the making of the movie, autograph sessions with surviving cast members, and forums about shark conservation. A new digitally re-mastered, Blu-ray version will screen on Saturday, Aug. 11 at 7:30 p.m. - preceded by a concert from "The Hammerheads."

Jaws author Peter Benchley, who died in 2006, devoted himself to shark conservation after the success of his book. Fear of sharks was so great after Jaws that "the initial reaction was to go out and hunt great whites," his wife, Wendy Benchley, president of the conservation group Shark Savers, told USA TODAY. "It horrified us."

Even when that panic died down, the shark population continued to dwindle because of overfishing caused by demand for shark fins.

Last month, a swimmer was attacked 400 yards off a Cape beach by what state officials believe was the first great white shark attack since 1936. The man required surgery for bites on both legs.

"At the grocery store this morning, people were talking," Benchley says. "But they now accept that sharks live in the ocean. If people act wisely, don't swim at night and don't go way out, we should be able to share the ocean together."