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Meet Bill, the original World Oceans Day organizer

June 8, 2020

Meet Bill Mott

For 30+ years, Bill Mott, Executive Director of The Ocean Project, has focused on building networks and coalitions to promote more collaborative and strategic ways to bring about a better future.

The Ocean Project has been collaboratively growing World Oceans Day since 2002 as a unique way to collectively rally for global action around our one shared ocean. It is now a global celebration of our ocean with more than 2,000 events in 150+ countries. It's not just about a one-day activation, though; Bill's team proactively engages year-round with groups to help them get—and stay—involved in celebrating our shared ocean.

To Bill and his team, World Oceans Day belongs to all groups, collectively, everywhere. It’s about how together, we can create a better future

Ocean Ambassador Q&A 

Can you explain the pathway that led you to become the Executive Director of The Ocean Project, as well as your role in the global efforts around World Oceans Day?  

I spent the decade prior to my time at The Ocean Project working with miscellaneous Washington, DC-based organizations. Some career highlights include designation of national marine sanctuaries in the late 1980's and coordinating a national coalition on federal fisheries reform that resulted in the first comprehensive conservation overhaul of the United States' principal fisheries law.

While launching The Ocean Project, I still found time to contribute to fishery policy. I worked on issues surrounding fish farming while helping to grow the sustainable seafood movement.

My interest in helping create The Ocean Project stemmed from the experiences I had in DC; specifically, seeing the work I did with my coalition-led campaigns result in significant wins for our ocean. However, I also realized that, in order to effect long-term positive change for the ocean, we needed to develop a much stronger constituency for conservation and sustainability overall and foster collaboration among its members.


What does a Big Blue Future mean to you and The Ocean Project, and what does the future of World Oceans Day entail? 

Increasingly, I find people want to help make some type of difference in any way, small or big; whether its sustainable choices and conscious consumption, active participation in their community, or any variety of other actions to address pressing global issues, including ocean health.

To me, a Big Blue Future means a healthier blue planet, with a more civically involved and sustainably-minded society.

What role do you see sustainable fisheries non-profits like the MSC playing in a healthy ocean? 

To have healthy ocean ecosystems and sustainable fisheries, we need strong science-based fisheries management that eliminates overfishing and protects essential coastal and ocean habitats.

To make sure that government leaders take the steps necessary to ensure a healthy and productive ocean, we need to develop an informed and engaged public that takes action to create the consumer demand and the political will for positive change. MSC helps make it easier for people to make informed choices regarding seafood consumption.

Helping consumers become more aware of what they’re eating—where it comes from. how it was fished, and how it ends up on your plate—can help people become more mindful consumers, something that I think is increasingly important as we strive to develop a much more sustainable society.


Does any particular year that you’ve celebrated World Oceans Day standout as a favorite? How have you seen sustainable fisheries/seafood representation fit into World Oceans Day in the past?  

That's an impossible question! Honestly, every year that we celebrate World Oceans Day is full of exciting and impactful events.

What stands out to me about the day is actually the constant; that it serves as a global rallying point that captures people's imaginations, catalyzes enhanced awareness, modifies behaviors, develops political will, and fosters important societal changes locally, nationally, and internationally. Certainly, science-based sustainable fisheries is a key to a healthy world ocean

And since World Oceans Day is all about helping people engage at the personal, community, and societal levels, increasing awareness and action around sustainable fisheries has been an increasingly key focus for our network of our partners.

In addition to choosing sustainable seafood, what’s your top piece of advice for people who want to contribute to a #BigBlueFuture and a healthy ocean?

No matter where on Earth we live, each and every of us affects the ocean and the ocean affects us all. Each of us can contribute one small action to help bring about a healthy ocean and a bigger, better, blue future. And with each of us contributing, I know that we can and will make a difference!

Thanks to involvement of millions of people in 140 countries, World Oceans Day is on an exciting trajectory to create a healthy blue planet and a big blue future, with an engaged and sustainable society. Together, as a growing global movement, we will make an impact commensurate to the size of the issues facing our shared ocean.

Text over ocean

Leading scientists worldwide have determined that we need to protect at least 30% of our blue planet by 2030. World Oceans Day joins with many organizations on this important initiative. By signing the petition you are telling world leaders that you want action too!

Click here to sign the petition

 

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