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Researchers Open Baja California Shark-Tagging Trip To The Public

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LOS ANGELES, California -- Non-profit organization Iemanya Oceanica today announced that they are organizing a shark-tagging research expedition to Baja California in October 2009. The organization is actively seeking up to 20 scuba divers/snorkelers from the Southern California community as a means to educating consumers to the challenging processes of today's ocean preservation efforts.

Departing the L.A. Area on October 15, 2009, Iemanya (pronounced ya-MAHN-ja, a Brazilian goddess of the sea), partnering with the CICESE Research Institute in Baja and Dr. Rachel T. Graham, world renowned shark scientist, will travel to a known population of whale sharks in Bahia de Los Angeles on the Sea of Cortez side of Baja California. Their goal is to apply satellite tags to 2-3 whale sharks during this 5 day expedition.

Iemanya executive director Laleh Mohajerani explained that "there are 3 reasons why we are gathering data on these animals. The first being to track their feeding, breeding and calving habits. The second reason," Mohajerani continued, "will enable us to add them to the 'family' of sharks that we feature on our website to expand consumer knowledge about sharks, and lastly," she concluded, "these efforts play into a global effort to increase public awareness of the urgent need for protecting our oceans through selecting sustainable seafood in their diets."

Whale sharks are the largest living fish species on the planet. They can grow to up to 40 feet long and weigh up to 15 tons. They can live up to 70 years, and although they have very large mouths, they are harmless, feeding solely on plankton, which are microscopic marine plants and animals.

This expedition will be filmed by professionals from Dokument Films in Los Angeles, utilizing their experience at increasing public awareness of non-profits through the use of professional productions for educational purposes.

Sponsored by Redondo Beach-based Body Glove International, National Scholastic Surfing Association champion Holly Beck will be joining the team to learn more about preserving the oceans in which she spends most of her time.

Additional details and application forms for this expedition can be found by visiting www.Iemanya.Org.

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