No matter what part of the world you surf in, the ocean is in trouble. From the industrial fishing fleets to ravage Europe’s Atlantic coastlines to the Taiwanese pirate fleets that dynamite the fragile coral reefs of Indonesia, to long-lines that snag sea turtles in the Sea of Cortez and the Pacific waters of California. For most marine scientists and conservationists the only viable way of protecting our fragile marine life is through the development of Marine Protected Areas (MPAs). These safe havens for threatened marine habitats and wildlife are our best defense against the predations of industrial-scale fishing gear.
But developing a network of MPAs in the world’s most endangered seas is easier said than done. Wherever conservationists have proposed adopting MPAs, the fishing industry has fought back hard. For example developing MPAs in Mexico’s Sea of Cortez and along California’s Pacific coast have been stalled for years because of the opposition of the commercial fishing industry.
Now surfers, conservationists, fishermen and some of the world’s greatest soccer players are fighting back to defend our oceans. In order to advance the cause of MPAs in California and Mexico’s Sea of Cortez (that includes the great waves of Sinaloa, Nayarit and the East Cape), WiLDCOAST has launched the “Defiende el Mar” campaign. Mexico’s Word Cup soccer striker “Kikin” Fonseca and legendary ex- World Cup goalie and current assistant coach of Mexico’s 2006 World Cup team, Jorge Campos have joined this campaign that has rocketed marine conservation into the exciting arena of World Cup soccer.
To promote the campaign, WiLDCOAST volunteers flooded Mexico’s World Cup team training ground in Acapulco passing out posters and postcards featuring Kikin and Campos. Kikin, the most popular and charismatic soccer star in Mexico also met with the mayor of Acapulco to talk about protecting marine life (Acapulco is a major center for sea turtle egg poaching). And WiLDCOAST staff and volunteers including Steamer Lane turned San Diego local Ben McCue, worked the crowd at the Mexican team’s last playing appearance in public at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena before the team departed for Germany.
But this campaign truly will global when our WiLDCOAST team travels to Germany for the World Cup. There we carry out an intensive media and guerrilla campaign on the streets of Hanover, Gelsenkirchen, and Munich to capture the attention of the thousands of Mexico fans watching their team play Portugal and Angola and the more than 500 million Latin American fans who will watch the campaign on television. Dorismar, our celebrity spokesperson, will become “A Mermaid of the Sea” on the streets of Germany in order to show that saving the ocean is not only cool but sexy. Hopefully government officials in Mexico and the United States will get the message that saving Mother Ocean is something that can’t wait.