Oceana announced today that Oscar-nominated actor and star of NBC's Law & Order, Sam Waterston, has joined its Ocean Council. The Ocean Council is a select group of academic, business, policy and philanthropic leaders who represent and support Oceana's efforts on the global stage. Members, who also include Pierce Brosnan and Kelsey Grammar, provide a wide range of talents and resources to inform and support Oceana's programming and the advancement of the organization's mission.
"I've loved the ocean all my life. As a New Englander, I've seen the nasty effects of fisheries collapses on the life of seaside towns," said Waterston. "Scientists now warn us that unless we do something, the world is on a path to global fishery collapses by mid-century, a calamity of mind-boggling proportions we can still avert. The time to act is now, which is why I'm very happy to be working with an organization as effective as Oceana."
Waterston has long been passionate about human impact on the earth's health, starring with Liv Ullmann and John Heard in "Mindwalk" in 1992, and, for 11 years, acting as the host of the PBS documentary series, The Visionaries, which highlights the rarely told stories of nonprofit groups working to make a positive difference around the planet.
"Fishermen of all kinds, including amateurs like myself, have long known that the health of the fisheries reflect and decide the health of the oceans. Injure one, you injure the other. Support one, you support the other. In just the same way, the health of the oceans reflects and determines the health of the planet. It's time and past time to make our action consistent with our understanding," added Waterston.
"We are very grateful for Sam's help," said Andrew Sharpless, Oceana's chief executive officer. "He gets it. He has closely followed the drumbeat of scientific reports about the rapid depletion of life in our oceans. Everyone recognizes and trusts him. He will be a huge help for our campaigns to bring the world's oceans back from the brink of irreversible collapse."
A report by an international team of marine scientists, published in the international journal Science (November 3rd, 2006), found that catches of 29% of wild populations of seafood have already dropped to less than 10% of their maximum. They also projected that if excessive catches of ocean species continues at current rates, our seafood supply could collapse before the middle of the century.
To reverse the declining health of the world's oceans, Oceana's team of marine scientists, economists, lawyers and advocates focus on specific and concrete policy changes. Oceana's campaigns seek to: protect essential ocean habitat such as corals from destruction by bottom trawling; reduce the accidental killing of marine wildlife as bycatch from industrial scale commercial fishing; reduce fish contamination from mercury pollution; and eliminate government subsidies that promote over-fishing.
Other members of Oceana's Ocean Council include: Anne Alexander Rowley, Dr. Sharon Benjamin, Gerald Breslauer, April Delaney, Thomas Hansen, Lea Haratani, Hardy Jones, Barbara Kohn, Larry Kopald, George Lewis, Jr., Drew Murphy, Dr. Wallace J. Nichols, Jimmy Olmes, Mark Ryavec, Robert Segal, Joshua J. Simcox, Victoria Stack, Bob Talbot, Karen White and Annett Wolf. The full description of Council members and their affiliations can be found at: http://www.oceana.org/.
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