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Oceana Magazine Fall 2008: Ocean Advocates: Dan and Beth Cort

Long before he and his wife Beth joined Oceana's Ocean Council, Dan Cort was a fish. Figuratively speaking, of course. "I'm a water guy," Cort said. Growing up in San Francisco, he was a competitive swimmer, and even raced against Olympian Mark Spitz at a swim meet. 

Now a certified diver, he tries to get in the water when he can, but as Pacific Grove's mayor and the CEO of his own business, he doesn't have much time for playing in the waves. 

"I know this sounds crazy, but I'm someone that feels at home in the water and really wants to protect it," Dan Cort said. "The oceans are 71 percent of the planet, and we've done a lousy job taking care of them, so I just felt obligated and committed to do this kind of work." 

Cort is especially concerned about industrial fishing. 

"Andy Sharpless and Jim Ayers are leaders in the protection of our fisheries," he said. "One of the things that is most important for me is the intensity with which they apply their creative and political energies to protect thousands of miles of ocean from industrial fishing." 

Cort and his wife of 18 years, Beth, are partners in a real estate business. The Corts started Trees for Pacific Grove, a volunteer-based organization which has raised $20,000 and replanted 2,000 trees in the city's urban forest. And as mayor of Pacific Grove, Cort co-founded Sustainable Pacific Grove, a local environmental action group which developed a green cleaning products program and a ban on Styrofoam.