April 30, 2015
CEO Note: Oceana Celebrates Hansjörg Wyss at Annual Gala in New York City
BY: Andy Sharpless
Last summer, I had a counterintuitive ocean moment. At the invitation of Hansjörg Wyss, I flew to Denver, connected to Idaho Falls, rented a four wheel drive pickup truck, and drove three hours north and east, deep into wide open Montana big sky country. My goal? To discuss with the Wyss foundation how saving the oceans helps protect terrestrial biodiversity.
The biggest driver of biodiversity loss on the land is agriculture, and the most intensive form of agriculture is livestock production. To feed 9 billion people in 2050 – two China’s worth bigger than right now – and also protect life on the land, you need the oceans to feed as many people as possible. Science shows us that with sensible scientific ocean management we can rapidly produce an abundant ocean, so abundant that it could feed a billion people a healthy seafood meal, every day, and do it forever.
Mr. Wyss and his foundation have long been known as pioneers in land conservation, and now they have pledged to help us Save the Oceans and Feed the World by providing Oceana with up to $10 million in matching funds to help rebuild fisheries in Peru and Canada. Together, these two key countries account for close to 14 percent of all the wild ocean fish landed by weight. To celebrate this commitment, Oceana honored Hansjörg Wyss at our annual NYC gala on April 1, hosted by Oceana’s Ocean Council Chair Susan Rockefeller and Council Member Violaine Bernbach. Many other Oceana supporters and advocates attended, including three-term New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg who made remarks. In 2014, Bloomberg Philanthropies committed $53 million to Oceana, Rare, and EKO Asset Management, as part of its Vibrant Oceans Initiative to support rebuilding fish populations and improve food security in Brazil, the Philippines, and Chile.
With the addition of these international offices made possible by Wyss and Bloomberg , Oceana is now active in countries that control close to 40 percent of the wild fish caught in our oceans — a true cause for celebration.