Richard Branson once said, "every living creature in the sea is important", and we couldn't agree more. In this series of content, we want to dive a little deeper into entrepreneurial, innovative and leadership approaches to protecting, caring for and sustaining the ocean.
The UN FAO estimates that between 8-25% of the total global fisheries catch is discarded because it’s unwanted, or quotas have been reached. That’s up to 27 million tonnes each year, although it’s hard to give exact figures as it’s a delicate issue and most discarding is done far out to sea. Oceana, a global NGO, estimates the cost of discarded fish to be around $1 billion per year.
In the year 2000, my life took an unexpected turn when visiting the Monterey Bay Aquarium. What I discovered there made me an “activist” in the blink of an eye. What did I find out?
When I was a little kid growing up on the Mediterranean coast of Spain in the early 1970s, I was, like many of you, spellbound by the underwater world that Jacques Cousteau showed us on television.
His fearless divers swam among whales and meandered through lush coral reefs full of large groupers and sharks. I dreamed of being a diver on the Calypso, Cousteau’s famous ship, and explore remote seas, making countless discoveries along the way.
My passion for the ocean - Richard Branson
Watch how my discovery of Necker Island awakened my passion for the ocean, how my father sparked my interest in wildlife, and how the ocean has helped to shape my life.
As John F Kennedy said: "We are tied to the ocean. And when we go back to the sea, whether it is to sail or to watch - we are going back from whence we came."
On March 30th I plunged into the depths of the Gardens of the Queen National Marine Park in Cuba. I had some trepidation, as it had been a long time since I had donned a tank to spend time 60 or 70 feet below the surface. Maybe it’s like riding a bicycle or skiing after a hiatus; anyway, it felt like that.
Local fishermen in the village of Oslob, Philippines have formed an extraordinary relationship with a population of whale sharks that feed in the waters of their village. In doing so, they’re demonstrating how working with nature can benefit everyone.
The fishing industry is evolving; for most fisherman, knowing how to catch is no longer enough. New regulations, growing demand from consumers to know where their food comes from, rising fuel prices, and increasing globalisation have changed the business dynamic of fishing.
Many of us have had that invigorating feeling of traveling on land and finally reaching its edge: at the ocean. We take in the salty air and expansive view, fulfilling a deep visceral connection to our seas. Life began in the ocean. The ocean remains home to the majority of Earth's plants and animals, from tiny single-celled organisms at the base of the food chain to the blue whale, our planet’s largest living animal at 30 metres.
-Background image by Shawn Heinrichs.