Dr. Sylvia Earle’s Foundation, Mission Blue, is delighted to announce that “Isla Holbox – Whale Shark Island”, has been selected as the 2010 winner for non-broadcast documentary at the BLUE Ocean Film Festival. Over 350 entries were submitted in 19 categories from around the world. The BLUE Ocean Film Festival was held in Monterey, California August 25-29th. “Isla Holbox” was produced by Kip Evans in 2009.
Isla Holbox (pronounced “hole-bosh”), an island off the coast of Mexico, was a well-kept secret until 6 years ago when large populations of migratory whale sharks were discovered right off its coast. Once a small island with just 1600 year-round residents, Holbox has since become a popular summer tourist destination when whale sharks congregate in the waters surrounding the island to feed and mate from May through September. Holbox has since earned the designation as the top place in the world to see and swim with these ‘gentle giants’.
The waters around Isla Holbox off Mexico’s Yucatán Peninsula teem with plankton, a feast for giant whale sharks—10-meter giants that gather by the hundreds from June through September. These super-sized, but toothless filter feeders are the core of a local tourism industry, but over-development could threaten this delicate balance.
This year the Mexican Government granted 220 permits. Last year only 40 permits were issued. While these animals are no longer fished in the waters surrounding Holbox, they are now threatened by too much interest and are now at risk of being killed by propeller hits from the ever-increasing boat traffic.
Mission Blue sought to highlight these issues in a short documentary that could be viewed by thousands of people on-line. The film is part of a larger goal to raise awareness for “Hope Spots”, areas of the ocean that need critical protection.
Click here to view this film!