American Morning

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June 8th, 2009
06:51 AM ET

Ted Danson: Cheer for the world's oceans

Editor's note: Ted Danson is an Emmy Award-winning actor, a founding board member of Oceana, the world's largest international organization dedicated solely to ocean conservation, and narrator of a new film, "End of the Line." For more information about Oceana, read here.

Ted Danson says a 'closed' sign on a beach led him on a 20-year quest to save the world's oceans.

Ted Danson says a 'closed' sign on a beach led him on a 20-year quest to save the world's oceans.

By Ted Danson
Special to CNN

(CNN) - Today, Monday, June 8, we recognize the first U.N.-sanctioned World Oceans Day. The event comes after years of pressure from conservation groups and thousands of activists who clamored for everyone to know and understand what's happening in our oceans.

I became an ocean activist in 1987. It was the fifth year of "Cheers" and my family moved into a neighborhood that was on the water, in Santa Monica, California. One day I took my daughters to the beach to go swimming, but it was "closed" and I couldn't answer my daughter's question why.

That's really how it started. That and "Cheers" was paying me a lot of money and I felt I had better be responsible with it. So, I started to get involved.

It turned out in our new neighborhood there was a fight to keep Occidental Petroleum from drilling 60 oil wells on Will Rogers State Beach in Los Angeles. They wanted to slant drill into the Santa Monica Bay. The fight was led by a man named Robert Sulnick and we became great friends and found a way to beat them.

We enjoyed ourselves so much that we wanted to continue this work. So Robert Sulnick and I, full of passion and naiveté, started American Oceans Campaign, which ultimately became a part of Oceana. And, here I am, still at it, 20 years later - because our oceans are in trouble.

Keep reading this story

Watch: Ted Danson speaks to John Roberts on American Morning


Filed under: Environment
soundoff (8 Responses)
  1. Dan Barrett

    While i support our fisherman it's clear that there wont be any fish to sustain the fishermans jobs . We have come to a point in time when tough moves have to be made to replenish and save the industry. I think we should fish every other year till we see an increase in life in the ocean again. If we dont do something soon, there will be a rude awakening. If fisherman are worried now, 2 or 3 years from now will certainly wake them up to a real world tragedy. We must give the sea a chance to replenish.

    June 9, 2009 at 7:53 am |
  2. Gerald Gunnari, West Coast USA

    As fishermen our investments and livelihood's depend on healthy Oceans and have had no response from Ted Danson about our concerns.As small family Generations old fishing businesses and jobs are being lost due to the huge profits in slamming our highly successful and costly local conservation efforts like they don't exist!
    I see hostile takeovers of our local fisheries using all means available including Ted Danson and his organizations.
    I am proud of the fact our West coast fisheries are in abundance YES this is a Fact our Pink Shrimp The Best Tasting in the World I might add are in such abundance Certified sustainable but bad press reduce demand undermine communities Please,Don't Slam our Fishermen Ted

    June 8, 2009 at 10:42 am |
  3. Diane Young

    Overfishing, global warming, ocean acidification and dead zones are all symptoms with a common underlying cause. When asked "What can we do?", I wish Ted had said "Choose to have no more than 2 children (unless you adopt). Then he would have gotten to the most important issue facing our oceans and our planet.

    June 8, 2009 at 9:52 am |
  4. Allan Grier

    Caught a bit of Teds interview. Do not know if he has researched the Pacific Halibut Commission.
    This is a body of beuracrats that dictates the annual quota of Halibut to be harvested.
    I was writing editorials and fighting our local fisheries liason thirty years ago on this issue and totally ignored. Apparently it was not important then.
    Trawlers (Draggers) scrape the ocean floor for other species and catch Halibut , crab, etc. which they are not licenced for or permitted to keep.
    They are or were not allowed to sell or give away these halibut which are classed as an incidental catch and are then discarded over the side Dead.
    Back when I was fighting this atrocity I aquired catch quotas, incidental quotas etc from federal fisheries and these amount to Hundreds of Tons.
    I congradulate Ted on his efforts and hope he can research this issue and use his influence to do something about an issue I was not important enough to have any attention paid to.

    June 8, 2009 at 9:12 am |
  5. Allen Facemire-Atlanta

    Need more info about what I can do besides reading labels. Eat more chicken?

    June 8, 2009 at 8:54 am |
  6. Richard Baum

    Ted's comments are startingly frightening. I can't believe the apathy so many have toward the conditions of our marine world. But to hear that one of six women are mercury toxic and can't bear normal children is hopefully enough to wake up the millions of people who continue to dump and who continue to trash and who continue to support off shore drilling. One would have thought that the potential loss of a species like the blue fin tuna would have been enough by itself. We have truly become too greedy and too lacidazical to be good stewards of the earth–Ted's warnings will still fall on too many deaf ears. Richard of Ontario, CA

    June 8, 2009 at 8:52 am |