Ocean Awareness Week sheds light on the seven seas

Senior Lee Qi, a marine science major, sampled lionfish at the Rock Monday afternoon.

“It doesn’t taste very fishy,” he said. “It kind of tastes like hogfish, but better because you know you’re doing some good for the environment just by eating it.”

The contest was one of several activities that kicked off University of Miami’s annual Ocean Awareness Week, which is devoted to educating students and the community about the plight of the world’s oceans. The lionfish, whose venomous spines were removed making them safe to eat, is an invasive species that has had a devastating impact on the populations of Florida’s reef fish.

“OAW is designed to get the public excited about the oceans in efforts to promote conservation,” said Emily Nelson, OAW chairperson. “Unless you have a personal connection with the ocean you have no real motivation to protect it. With OAW we are trying to give people a basis to form these connections.”

Multiple student organizations, such as the Scuba Club and Marine Mammal Stranding Club, prepare the events.

The week has been filled with ocean-related activities such as a showing of “Finding Nemo” at Cosford Cinema and a talk by UM alumna Christine Shepard about her journey to become an underwater photographer and multimedia specialist.

OAW will feature a Discover SCUBA class Thursday at 6:30 p.m., and an organized beach cleanup of Matheson Hammock Park Saturday.

During the week, members also traveled to South Florida high schools to raise awareness about ocean conservation and jobs in marine science.

Julia Van Etten, the OAW activity chair, is very excited about this expansion.

“As many people as possible need to learn about these issues, because everyone can do a little bit to help,” she said.

 

For more information:

Visit the OAW 2013 Facebook page or visit the groups’ table in the Breezeway.