Underwater photographers are encouraged to submit pictures to Heal the Bay’s Santa Monica Pier Aquarium for its “Underwater Parks Day” photo competition, a contest designed to highlight the undersea world just off the Southern California coast.

Entries will be accepted until Jan. 10 at 5 p.m. Only one entry per person, consisting of a single image, will be accepted. Photos will be judged for subject relevance and artistic vision by a panel comprised of Heal the Bay staff.

Winners will be announced and prizes awarded for first, second and third place on Jan. 16, 2010 at the aquarium, located at 1600 Ocean Front Walk.

Complete rules and regulations for participating can be viewed at: www.healthebay.org/smpa/uwparksday_contest.

Jan. 16 will mark the second annual Underwater Parks Day, and Southern California aquariums and marine science centers are joining together to help all Southern Californians learn about and support soon-to-be designated underwater parks, called Marine Protected Areas (MPAs).

Many local residents, marine biologists, divers, ocean conservationists and fisherman support the creation of marine protected areas.

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