Ocean conservation concert debuts

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The inaugural Rock the Ocean Tortuga Music Festival, presented by LandShark, left little more than footprints in the sand on the way to being a landmark event that married music and ocean conservation.

Thousands of fans ventured to the two-day music festival on Fort Lauderdale Beach this past Saturday and Sunday. While 23 bands and performers played their music, scores of marine research and conservation organizations gave concertgoers a visual, interactive presentation of marine science and management at the Conservation Village in the middle of the festival grounds.

The Conservation Village exhibitors included shark trackers, coral reefs maps in HD, a mock sea turtle nest, a mobile aquarium, a fishing simulator game, and lessons on how technology is used to restore oyster and seagrass beds.

“The end result is thousands of concertgoers left the Tortuga Music Festival with a better understanding of how research, technology and reasonable conservation practices can improve the health of our oceans,” said Antonio Fins, executive director of the Guy Harvey Ocean Foundation, which spearheaded the Conservation Village.

“Our goal was to let concertgoers know that despite the many challenges our seas face, research and science offer knowledge and alternatives to keep our oceans vibrant for future generations,” said Harvey, who recently returned from an expedition off Mexico where the Guy Harvey Research Institute team from Nova Southeastern University satellite tagged several shortfin mako sharks to track and study their migratory patterns.

The oceanfront festival, www.tortugamusicfestival.com, featured more than 20 bands, including Kenny Chesney and Eric Church, and received praise from both fans and city officials, the vast majority looking forward to a return next year.

For a glimpse of concert activities, go to http://vimeo.com/64082910

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