Oceana’s largest 2010 corporate partner Nautica and celebrity activists met in Gulfport, Miss., today to provide an update on the first legs of its two-month research expedition in the Gulf of Mexico and discuss its upcoming deepwater oil exploration efforts near the Deepwater Horizon wellhead. Oceana reported on its efforts to document vulnerable habitats from the Florida Keys to Panama City at risk from future oil spills as well as the results of its project to tag whale sharks, a species at risk from the Gulf oil disaster.
Award-winning actors Ted Danson and Morgan Freeman were joined by New York-based Spanish model Almudena Fernandez and San Pedro (Belize) mayor Elsa Paz.
“The disaster in the Gulf of Mexico is far from over,” said Andrew Sharpless, chief executive office of Oceana. “Oceana’s expedition will use independent research to help inform the public about the long-term impacts of the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. This disaster makes it clear why we need to say no to new offshore drilling.”
Nautica, a leading global lifestyle brand, also reaffirmed its commitment to Oceana this week by donating $100,000 to support the organization’s approaching efforts to map the subsurface oil plume with cutting-edge science and document seafloor habitat areas that may have been harmed by underwater oil with a remotely operated vehicle (ROV) capable of reaching depths of more than 3,200 feet and filming in high-definition.
“Nautica is a proud supporter of Oceana,” said Nina Flood, Vice President of Marketing, Nautica. “After the disaster in the Gulf of Mexico, it was important that Nautica do more to help. Nautica’s donation will help to ensure that Oceana can carry out its important research to assess the true impact of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill.”
This leg of the voyage will use sophisticated sensors to map the underwater oil plume in the vicinity of the Deepwater Horizon well, as well as an ROV to investigate the important habitat area known as ‘The Pinnacles’ off the coast of Alabama.
Since Oceana’s expedition began earlier this month, two new scientific studies have shown that; 1) nearly 80 percent of the estimated 200 million gallons of oil that has spewed into the Gulf since the explosion is still present; and 2) oil from the Deepwater Horizon oil disaster has been found on the sea floor.
“This new information reinforces our concern for marine life in the Gulf,” said Dr. Michael Hirshfield, scientist-in-charge of the expedition and chief scientist for Oceana. “While it is good news that no new oil is gushing from the well, seafloor habitats and fish remain vulnerable to the oil that is already in the water. We hope our expedition will help us better understand the true impacts of this disaster, even after the media cameras are gone.”
The research expedition is taking place aboard the Oceana Latitude, a 170 foot vessel adapted to serve as a research and diving platform. Led by oceanographer and vice president for Oceana Europe Xavier Pastor, the expedition employs specialized divers, underwater photographers and videographers as well as ROVs to analyze the magnitude of the oil spill and its effect on sensitive habitats and marine species.
Oceana’s experts and scientific collaborators are tagging several shark species to monitor their migration patterns and study their ability to avoid oil contaminated areas, in addition to taking samples of fish larvae, plankton and adult fish. Oceana’s scientists from both sides of the Atlantic are also collaborating with the National Aquarium and several universities, including the University of Miami.
Oceana continues to urge Congress and the Obama administration to ban all new offshore drilling and support a shift to clean, carbon-free alternatives.
For more information, photos, video, daily dispatches and scientific reports from the expedition, please visit Oceana.org/gulfexpedition. To learn more about Oceana’s campaign to stop the expansion of offshore drilling and to take action, please visit Oceana.org/stopthedrill.
About Oceana’s Partnership with Nautica
Nautica has been an official partner of Oceana since 2008, when it first announced the launch of its cause-marketing platform that focuses on ocean conservation. Along with its recent support for Oceana’s at-sea expedition, the Nautica brand’s commitment to water and to the mission of Oceana is expressed through a variety of company initiatives and product categories. Its ocean-themed cause-marketing platform also includes advertising, social networking, retail and sponsored events, in-store displays, international communication initiatives and a World Oceans Day Celebration on June 8. In addition, Nautica and Oceana have combined efforts during Nautica sponsored events, including its triathlons in South Beach, New York City and Malibu.
Photos and video footage from the expedition are available upon request.
Founded in 1983, Nautica® is a leading global lifestyle brand ranging from men's, women's and children's apparel and accessories to a complete home collection. Nautica® products are refined casual classics inspired and energized by the water that are always crisp, clean and distinct. Today Nautica® is available in more than 60 countries with more than 200 Nautica® branded stores worldwide. Nautica® has contributed to Oceana to support its mission to save the world's oceans. For more information about Nautica visit, www.Nautica.com.