New York lawyer and author makes six-figure contribution to save UNESCO World Heritage site, Mesoamerican Reef
As part of the Christie’s Green Auction on Tuesday, long-time Oceana supporter Sir Thomas Moore made a donation of $100,000 to help Oceana’s effort to completely end all forms of trawling in Belize. The ban will protect the Mesoamerican coral reef, a UNESCO world Heritage Site and the largest reef system in the western hemisphere, from the damaging effects of bottom trawling.
“If the oceans die, the economies and people of nations that depend on them will suffer terrible consequences,” said Sir Thomas R. Moore, a long-time New York litigator and author. “I wanted to help Oceana with this issue because it is aan organization that is uniquely qualified to save our oceans.”
The generous donation by Moore was part of a “Paddle Raise” lot where guests at the Green Auction raised a total of $350,000 for Oceana’s work on trawling in Belize.
In December, Oceana recently persuaded the Belizean legislature to outlaw all forms of trawling, but two bottom trawling ships remain sitting idle in Belize. Oceana will now be able to purchase and repurpose the bottom trawling ships before their owners can lobby the government for a repeal of the ban.
“Ensuring that this ban on trawling remains permanent is a tremendous victory for the oceans and the largest reef system in the Western Hemisphere,” said Andrew Sharpless, Chief Executive Officer of Oceana. “Bottom trawling is the most destructive form of commercial fishing in use and eliminating it in Belize will lead to more abundant and healthier waters.”
Bottom trawling is one of the most destructive forces on earth. The nets destroy entire ocean habitats, scooping up every living thing and then discarding in death most of these living creatures, on which a healthy fish population feeds, retaining in their catch only certain fish.
The money raised will also go to establish a lending program for Belizean fisherman to enable them to purchase sustainable fishing gear and to set up a hurricane relief grant program.
“Sir Thomas Moore has been a tremendous supporter of Oceana and a steward of the oceans for a long time – he is a visionary,” said Bettina Alonso, the Global Vice President of Development for Oceana. “We are incredibly grateful for this generous contribution to help Oceana eliminate trawling in Belize.
The Mesoamerican Reef protected by this legislative ban has incalculable value for Belize’s economy and culture provides jobs and food for many Belizeans, to say nothing of protecting the world, and our own well-being. To learn more about Oceana and its work to protect reefs around the world, go to: oceana.org/belize.