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Bettina Alonso

Vice President, Global Development

New York, NY, USA

On my mother's side I have connections with Hamburg, the second largest port in Europe, and on my father's side with Asturias. So the sea is a point of reference for me for many reasons, both personal and environmental. In addition, on my vacations there is nothing I like better than going to the beach and enjoying the sea……and eating shellfish! Even if it were just for these personal reasons, I would have more than enough motivation to uphold the need for clean oceans and fisheries resources that can be indefinitely exploited in a sustainable way.

I believe I've been extremely lucky to have joined such a fascinating project alongside colleagues with such extensive professional experience in protecting the oceans. My work consists of seeking funds for our research programmes and getting the public administration, foundations and corporations to become involved in our project.

However much you try to imagine the abuses that are being inflicted on the seas, you are still stunned by the images. When we think about the sea, we tend only to think about the surface, and we are unaware of the wealth of flora and fauna that exists below and the impact that damaging or unsustainable human or industrial activity has upon it.

I am convinced that change can be achieved through dialogue and cogent arguments and I hope that through my work I can contribute my own grain of sand to achieving these changes.

" It is a common defect in man not to make any provision in the calm against the tempest. " Machiavelli.