Blue Beacon Virtual Event Brings the Hidden Pacific to Light
At a time when many are longing for escapism, the National Marine Sanctuary Foundation brought the wonders of our remote Pacific marine monuments into living rooms and desktops for a chance to learn about these amazing national treasures up close. Partnering with filmmaker Ian Shive, the Foundation hosted an advanced screening of his film Hidden Pacific on August 13th, followed by a live Q&A event about the experience of making the film and the threats faced by these places.
It was the third (and first ever virtual) event of the Foundation’s Blue Beacon Series – a set of panel discussions, lectures, roundtables, and film screenings which bring to light the pressing issues facing our ocean and Great Lakes.
More than 1,000 people from every continent except Antarctica took advantage of the opportunity to screen Hidden Pacific, whose release in IMAX theaters has been delayed by the COVID-19 pandemic. And much of that audience made its way to the Facebook Live Q&A for a unique, behind-the-scenes look into the memorable moments and challenges of filming in remote, wild marine areas as well as what we can do to protect these amazing places. Hundreds of comments and questions poured in from the more than 600 live viewers of the Q&A, which has since reached nearly 3,000 people.
The event sought to bring awareness of the threats faced by Pacific marine monuments. Earlier this year, the leadership of the Western Pacific Regional Fishery Management Council, over the objections of members, including the State of Hawaii, asked the Trump Administration to open the Pacific monuments to commercial fishing, falsely claiming that the prohibitions on commercial fishing are harming fisheries and causing economic losses.
Opening up the wild and wondrous protected waters of Papahānaumokuākea Marine National Monument, Rose Atoll Marine National Monument and others to commercial fishing would undermine the health and resilience of these special places and undermine fishery conservation efforts. These places encompass the healthiest coral reefs in U.S. waters as well as some of the most pristine atolls on Earth. Sign our petition to support keeping our Pacific marine national monuments closed to commercial fishing.