CANCUN WELCOMES RENOWNED MARINE BIOLOGISTS DURING THE 2010 WHALE SHARK FESTIVAL IN ISLA MUJERES

Whale Shark Festival Academic Conference Program Announced

Renowned Marine Biologists from Georgia Aquarium, Mote Marine Lab, Ecocean and Project Domino to Speak About Conservation, Whale Shark Preservation

Cancun, Mexico  – Noted marine biologists from some of the world’s most prestigious research institutions will present their research at the Third Annual Whale Shark Festival in Isla Mujeres, Mexico, this July, have been announced.

The scientists – who hail from the Georgia Aquarium in Atlanta, the Center for Shark Research/Mote Marine Laboratory in Florida, the nonprofit Ecocean and Mexico’s Project Domino — will discuss marine conservation and whale shark preservation during an Academic Conference to be held concurrently with the Whale Shark Festival July 16-18, 2010 in Isla Mujeres, Quintana Roo, Mexico.

The Academic Conference will be held July 17, 2010 at City Hall, Isla Mujeres.  Admission is free.  Members of the scientific community as well as the general public are welcome.

“It’s exciting for the Georgia Aquarium to continue working with Project Domino in studying the whale sharks of Quintana Roo.  The waters of Quintana Roo are home to the most exceptional gathering of whale sharks known to science and a host of other beautiful and important marine species,” said Dr. Al Dove, Senior Scientist, Georgia Aquarium and presenter at the Whale Shark Festival.

“We are thrilled to have such noted researchers participate in the Academic Seminars.  They have come from all over the world to present their conclusions on whale shark migration and preservation,” said John Vater, co-founder of ecotourism travel agency Ceviche Tours, a key sponsor of the Whale Shark Festival.  “This is an important time to study marine conservation and how to protect our oceans and its inhabitants.”

The schedule for the Academic Conference is as follows:

July 17, 2010
4:30-5:15pm
“The Utila Connection”
Research collaboration program of the Whale Shark between México-Honduras
Presented by Biol. Beatriz Eugenia Galván Pastoriza
Project Domino, Mexico

5:15-6:00pm
“Afuera 2009, an extraordinary aggregation of Whale Sharks.”
Biol. Rafael de la Parra Venegas, Research Coordinator
Project Domino, Mexico

6:00-6:45pm
“Threats for Whale Sharks in the Gulf of Mexico.”
Dr. Robert Hueter, Director, Center for Shark Research
Mote Marine Laboratory, Sarasota, Florida, E.U.A.
www.mote.org

6:45-7:30pm
“Whale Sharks: from the aquarium to the sea.”
Dr. Al Dove, Senior Scientist
Georgia Aquarium
www.georgiaaquarium.org

7:30-8:00pm
“Whale shark community monitoring: understanding a threatened species”
Darcy Bradley, International Outreach Coordinator
Ecocean
www.ecocean.org

“Spotting and then swimming with a whale shark is a sensational experience, watching an enormous shark gracefully moving and approaching in reciprocal curiosity is a lifetime memory,” said Rafael de la Parra, Research Coordinator, Project Domino.  “Now studying ‘dominoes’ for almost ten years learning about their biology and natural history, we will produce several publications this year allowing us to compare and discuss on different topics concerning their behavior, movements, physiology and population dynamics.”

About the Whale Shark Festival
The Whale Shark Festival is an effort to raise awareness of the need to preserve the area’s marine ecosystem.  It is a community extravaganza that showcases the achievements, the traditions and the environmental splendor of Isla Mujeres.  Last year thousands flocked to the family-friendly Whale Shark Festival, which offers guests an opportunity to participate in ecotourism adventures such as swimming with whale sharks, the largest fish in the ocean and an endangered species; traditional dancing performed by local troupes; exploring ancient Mayan ruins and much more.

A portion of the Festival proceeds will be donated to several environmental not-for-profit organizations.

Booking Travel
Travel arrangements and bookings for whale shark tours can be made through the Ceviche Tours Website (www.cevichetours.com).

For More Information
For a complete listing of 2010 Whale Shark Festival activities and for more information, visit www.whalesharkfest.com.

About Ceviche Tours

Ceviche Tours provides sustainable ecotourism and travel services to the Yucatan and Isla Mujeres, Mexico. Founded by John and Adriana Vater of Spa Adriana in Huntington Village, NY, with longtime friend and Isla Mujeres native Luis “Cuco” Refugio and his family, Ceviche Tours works with the indigenous islanders of Isla Mujeres to help preserve their culture and maintain the integrity and beauty of the surrounding marine environment.  Through education and photo identification efforts, Ceviche Tours joins the worldwide effort to protect and preserve whale sharks.  As participants on our whale shark tours, guests are invited to be part of those identification and tracking efforts.  For more information, please contact www.cevichetours.com.
About Cancun

Cancun is located in the northern part of the southeastern Mexican state of Quintana Roo. It is Mexico’s number one tourist destination and is known all over the world for its spectacular beaches, unique beauty and breathtaking turquoise waters.

Cancun’s shoreline recently underwent a $71 Million Dollar makeover, that featured 1.3 billion gallons of sand to renovating the Hotel Zone’s seashore.  The most popular tourism destination in Mexico and Latin America has also added to its sun, beach, and nightlife, by creating a unique five-day route that will offer visitors a chance to experience adventure and interaction with nature. Cancun and the Treasures of the Caribbean invite travelers to discover the vast natural, cultural and gastronomical cultures of Puerto Morelos, and the four islands of the Mexican Caribbean: Holbox, Isla Mujeres, Contoy and Cozumel. Cancun is a multifaceted destination that combines nature, historical Mayan Culture, glamour, luxury and world class tourism with the seduction for adventure, the passion for paradisiacal nature and the enchantment of gastronomical magic.

For more information, visit the Cancun Convention and Visitors Bureau website at: www.cancun.travel.

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