Rogier van Vliet joined Oceana’s board of directors in December 2011. Van Vliet is the chairman of the Adessium Foundation, a privately funded public benefit organization that provides financial support to charitable organizations in the Netherlands and around the world. He is also a director at Multifund, a private investment company. He spoke with us about his interest in ocean conservation.
How did you become interested in ocean conservation?
At the Adessium Foundation, we consider the preservation of natural biodiversity and the responsible use of natural resources to be of utmost importance. Ocean conservation is a relatively new area of interest to our foundation, but it has proven to be an interesting topic. While learning more and more about the oceans and its challenges, the urgency to act hasbeen growing on me rapidly.
Is there a coastal place you feel most connected with?
The Balearic Islands are so beautiful and are important to me. I feel very connected to that region. It is an area I have visited frequently during the last 25 years and I hope to pay many more visits to that part of the Mediterranean.
What made you decide to join Oceana’s board of directors?
I felt very honored to be asked by Oceana to become a board member last year. I consider joining an organization’s board to be a considerable commitment and therefore gave it serious thought before taking on such an international position. It has turned out to be a great learning experience for me. What I like about Oceana is its professional and action-driven approach and its diverse and committed international team – one that feels like family. I am impressed with Oceana’s track record that has been built in the first 10 years.
What ocean conservation issue is the most compelling to you and why?
There are many issues that are important to mention. One is offshore oil drilling ingeneral, but especially the intended drilling in the Arctic. When things go wrong ‘normally’ we have a hard time managing failures in the oceans, let alone in the freezing Arctic. It just does not make sense.
Second is the issue of overfishing, which is little by little jeopardizing human security. We depend on ocean life so much but somehow have not been able to collectively manage and defend it. That is becoming a worrying problem to me.
Anything else you want Oceana readers to know about you or your work?
I am an optimist and I do believe that with good management we will be able to turn the tide and make the oceans serve us in a way that is good for all of us including the special creatures that live within it. Abundant and bright oceans – that’s my hope for the future.