The Ocean Defenders Alliance (ODA) works to clean and protect marine ecosystems, including the Channel Islands National Marine Sanctuary, through documentation, education, and meaningful action. Working with affected communities, they focus primarily on the reduction and removal of man-made debris which poses serious threats to ocean wildlife and habitats.
ODA founder, Kurt Lieber speaks with Our Ventura TV host, Ed Wehan, regarding their activities that include removing abandoned commercial fishing gear on the ocean floor or attached to boat wrecks — where it indiscriminately kills marine flora and fauna long after its service to the fishing industry was over.
Lieber, an avid diver and self-made scholar of marine conservation, read widely diverse reports about the oceans and came to understand the dire plight of life in the seas.
With a 40-foot boat generously gifted to ODA by the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society, Lieber began taking volunteer divers to reported abandoned fishing gear sites. Using the boat as a dive platform, the divers descend at each location, cut the gear loose, and float it to the surface. Volunteers on the boat haul it onto the deck and take it back to shore for proper disposal. Animals such as lobsters, crabs, and fish found trapped alive are carefully liberated by ODA and given a new chance to thrive, grow, and breed.
In addition to doing invaluable work at sea, ODA also works onshore to educate the public about the vital need for clean and healthy oceans. Through educational presentations at schools, expos, festivals, and dive clubs, they strive to inform people of all types and ages, raise their awareness about the plight of the oceans, and inspire others to join their efforts. ODA also reaches out to fishermen, restaurants, and the seafood community to enlighten them to these issues, seeking to gain their commitment to becoming better stewards of the oceans.
Director: Petrina Sharp
Sponsor: NONPROFIT FIRE, Fundraising for Nonprofits
Sponsor: PJ MURALS, We Paint Your World Beautiful
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