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."
"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
It's hard to believe that 40 years ago this week JAWS premeired in theatres. With it the summer blockbuster was born and also the beginning of a new era of ocean awareness. There are many communities that will be showing JAWS throughout the summer and generations of families will gather to enjoy it. It's staying power is a tribute to director Steven Speilberg's masterful job of bringing Peter's fictional novel to life.
While JAWS scared some people, it mesmerized others. So much so that they would go on to study the ocean and commit their lifes work to being real life Matt Hooper's in the field of ichthyology and other marine sciences. Following the release of JAWS, Peter and I traveled and dived in nearly all of the world's oceans where we witnessed dramatic changes to our ocean’s wildlife and habitats on expeditions that included work on documentary films, articles, and television shows for National Geographic, ABC’s American Sportsman, The New England Aquarium, and many others.
Today, I sit of the Board of WildAid, a great organization solely dedicated to stopping the traficking of and demand for llegal wildlife, including shark fin, rhino horn, ivory and tiger. WildAid has sounded the alarm on the devastating impacts of shark finning to shark populations. Their highly successful public awareness campaign to reduce consumption of shark fin soup in China, Hong Kong and across Asia has helped change attitudes about sharks about why we need them swimming in our seas and not in our soup. The results of these efforts have helped reduce demand for shark fin by more than 50 percent.
We have more work to do, but progress like this makes me hopeful that the positive impact of JAWS will live on for decades - bringing more people into our blue community to protect our oceans at every level.