The Millennium Oceans Prize is returning for its seventh year to support and celebrate students who are passionate about conserving, protecting, and sustainably using oceans, seas, and marine water and life.
The Millennium Oceans Prize targets Sustainable Development Goal 14 by celebrating youth activists who are focused on enriching their communities through advancing marine and freshwater conservation and sustainable use of marine resources. Prize winners will receive mentorship and a $5,000 prize for implementation of a concrete campaign idea to spark change and garner support in advocacy, policy, and leadership for oceans and freshwater systems.
Every year, between July and October, Giant Manta Rays arrive to Isla de la Plata, located in Parque Nacional Machalilla, Ecuador, where they aggregate in the largest regional population of Mobula birostris recorded to date. Adopting Mobula birostris as a flagship species, this project would provide, through the first ecotoxicological investigation of skin biopsies, new and important information to demonstrate the growing problem of plastic pollution in the southern region of the Eastern Pacific, where studies in this subject are scarce.
As part of the project, a team of professional wildlife and underwater photographers will capture, through high impact photographs and a short documentary, all the efforts this project, and Fundación Megafauna Marina del Ecuador, are making to protect this threatened species and the ecosystems they inhabit, as well as showing the beauty of an underwater world still unknown to many.
The audiovisual material will be exposed and shared, both to socialize the project and to show the beauty of an underwater world still unknown to many, as well as to raise awareness and send a powerful conservation message that can easily reach people, regardless of their language, age, geographical position, education level or social condition.