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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:  June 27, 2016
PWF Researchers at World Conservation Congress 
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Pacific Whale Foundation Researchers Selected
to Present at IUCN World Conservation Congress


Pacific Whale Foundation (PWF) researchers have been selected to present at the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) World Conservation Congress, the largest recurring conservation event in the world. Participants include heads of state, high-level government officials and policy-makers, CEOs and business leaders, representatives from indigenous groups and leading environmental organizations, along with top scientific experts, academics, educators and artists from all over the world. The event will be held September 1-10 in Honolulu, Hawaii and organizers expect between 6,000-10,000 participants in total.

Pacific Whale Foundation’s presentation will be one of only 200 that were selected out of over 1,500 proposals submitted to the event. The contribution will aim at creating awareness of marine debris in the North Pacific, specifically within the four-island region of Maui County. The objective of the work is to promote conversation initiatives and policies on a global scale that will reduce pollution resulting from unsustainable production and consumption patterns in today's throw-away society.
 
The presentation is based on research initiated in 2013 by Pacific Whale Foundation to collect and record samples of debris from the ocean and along Maui’s coast. PWF's research department has cataloged over 10,000 pieces of debris (and counting) in this systematic survey of marine debris accumulation and distribution. A representative photo collage of samples can be found on the organization’s website. To comprehensively represent the issues of marine debris in Hawaii, PWF is partnering in this research with the Department of Lands and Natural Resources, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Hawaii Coral Reef Initiative, and Hawaiian Islands Humpback Whale National Marine Sanctuary.
 
Marine debris is one of the most widely distributed threats facing marine biodiversity. The Hawaiian Archipelago, isolated from the nearest land mass by 2,400 miles of ocean, represents a unique scenario to study marine debris trends. The IUCN World Conservation Congress presentation will showcase PWF’s current research examining marine debris and how it impacts coastal habitats and marine mammals. The policies implemented within Maui at the consumer and producer level will be used as a case study, with innovative solutions offered for improving their effectiveness. Pacific Whale Foundation's conservation initiatives will also be discussed, along with recommendations for a holistic approach to addressing marine debris through legislation, public outreach, and industry engagement.
 
Leading the presentation will be PWF’s Senior Research Analyst, Jens Currie, a marine biologist from Nova Scotia, Canada. Jens holds a B.Sc. Honors and M.Sc. in Biology at Memorial University of Newfoundland and Labrador. His interests lie in linking physical observations to observed biological changes and relating this, if appropriate, to anthropogenic factors. Previously Jens worked for Fisheries and Oceans Canada as a physical scientist completing ecosystem based modeling and as a marine biologist researching community dependence on estuarine ecosystem goods and services in developing regions of South Africa.

Pacific Whale Foundation is a non-profit organization established on Maui in 1980 to protect whales and our oceans through science and advocacy. Its study on marine debris was recently published in Marine Pollution Bulletin. PWF also conducts extensive scientific projects on whale and dolphin tracking, false killer whale population studies, and photo identification of whales, including the innovative Match My Whale program. The organization also supports research projects and teams in Australia, Chile and Ecuador.

Please visit www.pacificwhale.org for more information on Pacific Whale Foundation’s longstanding commitment and contributions to science.
 


Media Contact:
Alison Stewart
Pacific Whale Foundation
(808) 283-9822
alisonstewart@pacificwhale.org

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