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Oceana Magazine Summer 2014: CEO’s Note - Our Connection to the Sea

It’s the end of summer, and many of us spent the past two months enjoying sun and sand at the beach.

One-quarter of everyone in the United States will visit the beach this summer. Counting multiple visits, Americans make 2 billion beach trips each year. And the love of a sandy vacation is shared around the world. Just go to the southern coast of Europe, or the endless tropical beaches of Southeast Asia.

Our attraction to the sea is a powerful statement. Give us a little time off from work, a little bit of pure freedom, and what do we do? We head to the ocean. And we make the journey despite monumental traffic jams on hot roads and beaches that are often packed from the water’s edge all the way back to the dunes.

What explains this attraction? Beaches are hot, sandy, crowded, and often far away.

Something happens to us when we climb out of our work clothes into a bathing suit and walk, often hand in hand with our family and friends, over the dunes and down to the sandy shore. Whatever that something is, we crave it. And we return to it year after year.

Perhaps it’s the encounter it gives us with the wild. For most of us, the ocean is the purest dose of nature we can experience.

Going to the ocean is like going to the world’s largest and most untamed nature park. It is as wild as Yosemite or Yellowstone — wilder, really — and that wildness draws us to it. Swimming in the ocean’s surf is the liquid equivalent of a hike to the edge of the Grand Canyon — you are at a border, where the astonishing power of nature is suddenly revealed.

Do you remember the first time you saw the ocean? The comprehensive sensory impact of the salty air, the screaming gulls, the scorching sand, the endlessly wide horizon, and the thumping crash of the surf? It’s a memory we all cherish.

As a loyal backer of Oceana, you should take special pleasure this summer as you spend time at your favorite (and I hope familiar) salty destination. Your generosity and loyalty to Oceana helps win the policy changes that are producing a more abundant and healthier ocean. Reform of the Common Fishery Policy of Europe promises a 40 percent improvement in the abundance of European ocean fisheries by 2020. A tightening of the marine fishery laws in Chile means that the waters of the world’s seventh most productive coastal nation will soon be filled with more fish. And in the United States, almost all fishery quotas are finally in line with scientific recommendations, and rebuilding of spawning populations is underway.

Thanks to your generosity and to a grant from former New York City Mayor Bloomberg, Oceana’s proven campaigns for sensible ocean management will now be brought to Brazil and the Philippines. As a result, Oceana’s teams of ocean advocates will now be able to win the policies to protect and restore one-quarter of the world’s ocean productivity.

That means that a hungry world will have more fish to eat. That means that the creatures that thrive in an abundant ocean — like the dolphins and orcas that, like us, love to eat fish — will benefit too. And it means that as you stand on the beach and look out at the water, you can smile at the thought that you’ve helped make sure that the massive wilderness that is the ocean is healthier and full of wildlife.

Congratulations, and thank you for your ongoing generosity and loyalty to Oceana and the cause of abundant oceans.