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'Saving Goliath' by Nuno Sá
Photograph: © Nuno Sá | Saving Goliath

This incredible photo just won Marine Conservation Photographer of the Year

The UK competition saw more than 6,500 photographs enter across its 13 categories

Liv Kelly
Written by
Beatriz Magalhães
Translated by
Liv Kelly

Wildlife photographers are a talented bunch, but capturing a dazzling moment under the water or among the waves comes with a whole load of challenges. That’s why the winners of the Underwater Photographer of the Year Awards are extra impressive. 

This year, Portuguese photographer Nuno Sá has been awarded the Marine Conservation Photographer of the Year prize for his stunning aerial shot of a whale washed up on a Portuguese beach.

Back in 2022, he captured the moment that an injured, 12-metre-long sperm whale washed up on Fonte da Telha beach on the west coast of Portugal. The photo, called ‘Saving Goliath’, was taken using a drone and captures about 30 bathers trying to push the sperm whale back into the sea. Sadly, the whale died a few hours later. 

Thanks to this remarkable and moving photo, Sá was triumphant in the Marine Conservation Photographer category, which is in partnership with the Save Our Seas Foundation. The competition has 13 categories in total, and a whopping 6,500 photographs were submitted by over 500 participants.

‘It was a mix of emotions to see an animal that I am so used to filming, in different parts of our planet on the high seas, injured and dying fighting to stay on the surface. But it was also inspiring to see so many people risking their lives to try to save him. We are talking about an animal that in this case weighed more than 30 tons and was injured’, says Nuno Sá, in a statement. After approaching the whale himself, Sá realised that one of the people trying to save it was his ten-year-old daughter.

The competition’s jury president, Alex Mustard, says that ‘the photo gives us hope that people care and want to help the oceans, but it also warns us that bigger changes are needed.’ 

Sá also won big back in the 2015 competition, claiming not only the Underwater Photographer of the Year title but the International Macro winner, too. 

Alex Dawson, a Swedish photographer, claimed the coveted Underwater Photographer of the Year title this year. You can have a look at the gallery of winning pics on the UPY website right here

Did you see that Amsterdam is getting a brand-new waterfront museum?

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