The Beacon

Oceana Celebrates SeaBlue in Florida

Martin Stepanek, Alexandra Cousteau, Wyland, Jim Simon. ©Oceana/Steven Shires

After recently joining Oceana as a senior advisor, I traveled with the team to Fort Lauderdale last week where we hosted our first major South Florida event, SeaBlue. We had a great time and let me say, it was a huge success for the oceans.

At SeaBlue we raised a lot of money to help protect the world’s oceans and in the process, over 300 guests had a blast dancing and singing along to the music of Oceana Ambassador Adrian Grenier and The Honey Brothers. We were also joined by Martin Stepanek (world champion free diver) and Wyland (a renowned marine artist) as we celebrated Oceana at the perfect winter getaway.

On a more serious note, the evening focused on sharks and the need for Floridians to fight for their protection. Legislation in Florida to stop the shark fin trade has stalled, putting a kink in Oceana’s efforts to stop the practice of shark finning and the trade of fins, which still legally feeds the high demand in many states.

But with the help of Oceana’s sold-out event and the collective passion for the oceans that was shared by those in attendance, we gathered hundreds of signatures that we’ll deliver to Florida Governor Rick Scott as we call for a state ban on the trade of shark fins. If passed, this legislation will join similar laws passed in California, Oregon, Washington and Hawaii. On the East Coast, numerous states are in the process of enacting the legislation, including New York.

I’ll close here with a poignant quote from Adrian Grenier who passionately inspired the crowd before taking the stage for his performance. Sharks, he said, “are powerless against human hands, so we have to protect them. A lot of the practices are pretty brutal. They’ll take a shark, cut off their fins and then throw them back into the ocean to slowly die and we’re better than that. As humans, we need to be better than that.”

He’s right. We are better than that. And our oceans depend on us living up to that principle.

P.S. For those of you participating in the Nautica South Beach Triathlon next month, look out for Oceana’s booth and add your name to the list of support!

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