Sam Waterston’s New Cause: Helping to Save the World’s Oceans - Oceana USA

Sam Waterston’s New Cause: Helping to Save the World’s Oceans

Oscar-nominated Actor and Star of NBC’s “Law & Order” Joins Ted Danson on Board of Directors of Ocean Conservation Group, Oceana

Press Release Date: January 24, 2008

Location: Washington, DC


Dustin Cranor, APR | email: | tel: 954.348.1314


Oceana announced today that Oscar-nominated actor and star of NBC’s Law & Order, Sam Waterston, has joined its Board of Directors.  He had previously been a member of the group’s advisory board, the Ocean Council.

“I got involved with Oceana initially because I grew up beside the ocean in New England and loved it.  When I learned that the collapse of the New England cod fishery was final, with all that meant for the communities and fishermen there, I wanted to help,” noted Waterston.  “I started to read more and more scientific reports clearly showing that our oceans are headed towards an irreversible collapse and I learned that Oceana was actually doing something about it.  I like their science-based, results driven approach. When asked to join the board, I felt that I had to join and do all that I could.”

He added, “I want to help to make sure that what’s happened in New England doesn’t happen everywhere else in the world.”

A report by an international team of marine scientists, published in the international journal Science (November 3rd, 2006) found that catches of 29 percent of wild populations of seafood have already dropped to less than 10 percent of their historic maximum. They also projected that if excessive catches of ocean species continue at current rates, our seafood supply could collapse before the middle of the century.

Oceana’s Board of Directors is the organization’s governing body.  It approves all strategy, budgets and direction for the group’s campaigns and organizational activities.  Other notable members of Oceana’s board include actor Ted Danson, former Organization of American States Secretary General César Gaviria and world famous fisheries scientist Dr. Daniel Pauly.

Waterston will be an active board member and plans to join Danson as one of the group’s principal spokespeople.  Danson has been on the board of Oceana and its predecessor, the American Oceans Campaign (which he helped to found) for over 20 years. “What a coup for Oceana,” said Danson. “I love Sam’s work as an actor and I am very excited to have an excuse to spend more time with him. I know he will help Oceana get even more done.  It really is incredible how much we’ve been able to get done in the past few years.”

Since its founding in 2001, Oceana has won over fifteen major victories for the oceans.  These include: the protection of one million square miles of ocean habitat; the establishment of penalties to stop half of the world’s shipping fleet from dumping 20 million gallons of oily water into our oceans every year; the installation of advanced wastewater treatment systems by the world’s second largest cruise line and the decision by five of the largest mercury polluters in the United States to switch to mercury-free technology or shut down.  Because of Oceana’s effectiveness, rating agency Charity Navigator has awarded the group four stars (the highest possible rating in its category).

“We think Sam will help us win more victories,” said Andrew Sharpless, Oceana’s Chief Executive Officer.  “He is one of the most trusted and well known actors in America and the hidden problem of the seas needs him.  We believe Sam will turn many more people into ocean activists, a critical factor in the fight to turn the tide for our oceans.”

Other members of Oceana’s Board include: Herbert M. Bedolfe (Chairman of the  Board), III; Keith Addis (Vice Chairman); Simon Sidamon-Eristoff (Secretary and Treasurer); María Eugenia Girón; Stephen P. McAllister; Michael Northrop; Dr. Kristian Parker; Dr and Sally-Christine Rodgers.  A full description of Board of Directors and their affiliations can be found at: