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Oceana Magazine Fall 2011: Donor Profile: Sydney Davis

With a background in finance, arts and philanthropy, Sydney Davis brings a range of experience to her new role as an Oceana board member. Now, she’s focused on preserving healthy oceans so future generations will enjoy abundant seafood and beautiful, healthy beaches.

How did you first get involved with Oceana?

My husband Andrew and I were motivated to look into ocean conservation as we are avid scuba divers who have witnessed the decline in the health of the oceans over the years. We found Oceana and were quickly impressed with Oceana’s mission and approach to save our seas and the life within them.

What ocean experiences are meaningful to you?

Andrew and I enjoy scuba diving with our children. At ages 14 and 11, they have had the opportunity to see underwater life firsthand. I firmly believe that if everyone could see under the oceans’ surface to view the beautiful creatures, both big and small, there would be an international cry for protection.

Have you personally witnessed the impact of overfishing?

Yes. I recall a trip to view the migration of the hammerhead sharks off the coast of Mexico. Once there, we found a few playful seals in the deep waters, but no hammerheads. We learned that the entire area had been commercially overfished to such an extent that most of the fish life was gone. We saw the negative economic impact that unsustainable practices had on the local fisherman whose families had fished for generations in more sustainable ways.

Is there a particular Oceana campaign that has personal meaning to you? 

The more that I learn from my involvement with Oceana, the more I realize that all of their campaigns are important. I have to admit, though, that Oceana’s work to ban shark finning means a lot to me. But I also realize that it is as important to ensure that the world’s children have the opportunity to eat healthy protein from the ocean, as well as swim and surf in the waves and play on clean beaches.

Tell us about a special experience with the oceans.

My family and I had the most incredible luck to witness a hatching of green sea turtles one afternoon a few years ago. They were so small, so driven, and in such danger from the birds above. My husband and daughter raced back to our hotel room to get his underwater camera rig and we then had the great fortune of following one baby turtle from its sandy birth all the way to the ocean, some 30 yards away. An extraordinary day for me, my husband, and especially our children.