2022 Oceana New York Gala
On Tuesday, September 13, distinguished business, philanthropic, and cultural leaders gathered at Rockefeller Center’s Rainbow Room for Oceana’s annual New York Gala to celebrate and support the organization’s mission to restore the health and abundance of the world’s oceans.
The event raised over $1.6 million in support of Oceana’s global campaigns and featured an esteemed group of speakers and attendees, including Oceana Board Member and master of ceremonies Ted Danson, gala chairs Susan Rockefeller and David Rockefeller, Oceana Board Chair Sam Waterston, Big Wave Surfer and Oceana Board Member Maya Gabeira, among others. Over the past nine years, Oceana’s New York Gala has raised more than $13 million to help deliver policy victories for our oceans.
This year’s event, which returned Blancpain as Presenting Partner, celebrated a “wave of victories” for our oceans. “In just over 20 years, Oceana has won more than 225 victories that stop overfishing, habitat destruction, pollution, and the killing of threatened species like turtles, sharks, and whales,” Waterston said. “For everywhere that we make progress, there are forces pushing back: oil polluters, the plastics industry, bad actors in commercial fishing and aquaculture, politicians that refuse to stand up for our oceans. Enough is enough. Oceana continues to push forward for the sake of our oceans, for all their remarkable and wondrous inhabitants, and for future generations,” he added.
In just the last year, following campaigning by Oceana and its allies, California enacted the boldest plastic reduction policy in the nation, Canada implemented new legal safeguards that require depleted fisheries to be rebuilt, and the National Marine Fisheries Service reinstated protections for Northeast Canyons and Seamounts Marine National Monument in New England waters to protect critical habitat.
“Oceana is restoring wild fish populations so that people have access to a healthy and climate-friendly protein that can feed local communities, provide critical nutrition, and support livelihoods,” Oceana Board Member Susan Rockefeller told guests. “Because of your support and because you are here tonight, Oceana can deliver tangible results every day for the oceans, for our planet, and for the next generation.”
This year’s gala honored ocean conservation philanthropy, Marisla Foundation. As one of the original five foundations that established Oceana in 2001, Marisla’s leadership and generosity has created marine protected areas, strengthened fisheries policies, restored habitats, and stopped ocean pollution around the world.
“The oceans are essential to our existence, but historically we haven’t done a very good job at paying them back,” said Beto Bedolfe, Executive Director of the Marisla Foundation and Oceana Board Member. Sara Lowell, Marine Conservation Director at the Marisla Foundation and Oceana Board Member added,“That is why Marisla Foundation is so committed to Oceana – because they get stuff done. While our seas face many threats, we remain optimistic thanks to the victories Oceana has secured. Thank you, Oceana, for fighting to protect and restore ocean abundance for future generations.”
The evening concluded with a dance party led by musical guest The Rakiem Walker Project.
As Presenting Partner and Oceana’s exclusive watch partner, Blancpain, donated two of its renowned Fifty Fathoms Bathyscaphe watches to the event auction. Through its ocean exploration and conservation initiative, the Blancpain Ocean Commitment, Blancpain has co-financed 21 major scientific expeditions, including recent Oceana expeditions to the Alacranes and Bajos del Norte reefs in Mexico. The two organizations work closely together to further their important contributions to expanding marine protected areas and presenting award-winning documentaries, photo exhibits, and publications.