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These Spectacular Pics Are a Tribute to Oceans Everywhere

 The inaugural Ocean Photography Awards, presented by the Oceanographic Magazine, are an absolute treat for nature lovers. Through its spectacular photographs, the competition aims to raise awareness on issues of conservation while also highlighting the ocean's breathtaking beauty. The awards consist of just six categories along with the overall winner of the Ocean Photographer of the Year. The winners were recently announced during a virtual ceremony and photographer Nadia Aly secured the top prize for her stunning shot of an aggregation of Mobula rays.
The competition received more than 3,000 submissions from across the world this year; each image was a celebration and a tribute to oceans everywhere and showed their importance in our world. Here, we have presented the seven winning images from the Ocean Photography Awards along with some of the best photos of the nominated finalists. 

1. Nadia Aly - The Ocean Photographer of the Year.  

Ocean Photography Awards,  Mobula rays
An aggregation of Mobula rays off the coast of Mexico.

2. Matt Sharp - Ocean Conservation Photographer of the Year.

Ocean Photography Awards, hermit crab
A hermit crab drags itself in search of food on top of a pile of plastic in a shell made from manmade waste.

3. Jason Gulley - Ocean Adventure Photographer of the Year.

A freediving instructor waits for their student to return from a dive below Cenote Angelita's microbial cloud. The cloud, however, is so thick it almost appears to be the seafloor.

4. Ben Cranke - Ocean Exploration Photographer of the Year

Ocean Photography Awards, penguins
Penguins make their way through heavy snowfall and fierce winds in St Andrew's Bay, South Georgia, Antarctica.

5. Cruz Erdmann - Young Ocean Photographer of the Year

Ocean Photography Awards, fish
Heteractis Magnifica, also known by the common names magnificent sea anemone or Ritteri anemone, is an endemic species of sea anemone only found in the atolls of the Maldives.

6. Tobias Baumgaertner - The Community Choice Award

Ocean Photography Awards, penguins
Two widowed penguins appear to be comforting one another as they look upon Melbourne's lights.

7. Nadia Aly - The Collective Portfolio Award

Ocean Photography Awards, sea creatures
The photographer wanted to highlight the diverse populations of sea creatures through this shot.

8. Finalist: Jono Allen - Community Choice Award

Ocean Photography Awards, whale
A humpback whale calf leaps merrily in the warm waters of Tonga in the South Pacific islands.

9. Finalist: Martin Berg - Conservation Photographer Of The Year

Ocean Photography Awards, polar bear
A starving polar bear looks out to sea in the hopes for ice to return. 

10. Finalist: Grant Thomas - Collective Portfolio Award

Ocean Photography Awards, whales, calf
Grant Thomas is an award-winning underwater photographer and expedition guide who is renowned for his breathtaking and unique underwater shots like this one of a humpback whale and its calf that gives us a close look at various marine life. 

11. Finalist: Karim Iliya - Exploration Photographer Of The Year

Ocean Photography Awards, freediver
A freediver explores a cave in Tonga.

12. Finalist: Florian Ledoux - Collective Portfolio Award

Ocean Photography Awards, Seals, ice
Seals waiting for food as the ice around them crumbles. 

13. Finalist: Sean Scott - Adventure Photographer Of The Year

Ocean Photography Awards, sharks, wave
Two sharks surf through a wave at Red Bluff, Quobba Station, in Western Australia.

14. Finalist: Celia Kujala - Community Choice Award

Ocean Photography Awards, sea lion
A Steller sea lion curiously stares into the camera off the coast of Hornby Island, British Columbia. 

15. Finalist: Kyla McLay - Young Photographer Of The Year

Ocean Photography Awards, common dolphin

A common dolphin appears to be swimming between two realms.

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