by Ken Giustino
Mike Martinsen was out by Gin Beach assisting his friend Craig O’Connell on a film about sharks as he sometimes does. Last winter Mike worked with him on an underwater film in the Philippines that just aired for Shark Week. Craig runs O’Seas Conservation Foundation, Inc. (https://www.oseasfdn.org/) which is a well-established Montauk-based 501-c-3 nonprofit organization that integrates shark conservation efforts with youth education. Their mission is to protect the future of our marine life, and more specifically, our oceans through our local shark research efforts that directly involve youth as a means to educate, inspire, and train these future leaders of marine conservation.
Key Objectives of OCF:
Educate and inspire our youth through innovative and engaging hands-on field activities
Survey local (Southern Long Island, NY) waters to establish a sound understanding of the status of fish populations
Establish collaborations to aid in conservation projects on a global scale
Develop and implement conservation engineering tactics that will prove vital in wildlife management
The day the cover shot was taken they had some kids on the boat and were setting gear; underwater cameras to try and capture some images of thresher sharks. At one point they noticed a whale breaking the surface between them and Gin Beach. They continued videoing while Mike grabbed a still Camera and took this month’s cover shot.
Mike said that it’s not common to see humpback whales so close to shore and he explained that the nature Conservatory felt it was a result of their efforts of conserving the bunker that the whales are feeding on. Mike has a theory that there may be more to it than that because normally the Humpback Whales would be feeding up in the golf of Maine on herring and mackerel in deeper water in over 20 fathoms. The whales may be here feeding on the bunker for a lack of their normal diet (herring and mackerel) at this time of the year. So it’s only a guess if the whales are here due to an overabundance of the bunker or the lack of food elsewhere- I guess you could say food for thought!