The Crowd: An event for ocean conservation

October 05, 2011|By B.W. Cook
  • IN CHARGE: Eye Kornyei and Valarie Van Cleave co-chair SeaChange 2011 benefiting the ocean conservation work of Oceana.
IN CHARGE: Eye Kornyei and Valarie Van Cleave co-chair… (Daily Pilot )

Orange County hostesses Valarie Van Cleave and Eve Kornyei pulled out all the stops Saturday evening, as Hollywood and Washington, D.C. glitterati converged on the Laguna Beach estate of Karen and Bruce Cahill for the 4th annual SeaChange dinner and fundraiser.

It was a smashing success attracting some 400 guests. The al fresco gathering on the spectacular hillside of the Cahill villa, which overlooks the Pacific Ocean, raised more than $900,000 for Oceana, the world's largest ocean conservation society. It's headquartered in the nation's capital.

This was an evening of great passion centered on a cause that effects every creature on the planet, both on land and under the sea. Oceana is both a watchdog and an instrument of leadership working with multiple layers of worldwide government, business and culture.

In spite of criticism of such efforts from voices advocating no restriction on the pursuit of free enterprise as they harvest the bounty of the world's oceans, Oceana works through legislative action to ensure that enterprise unchecked and imbalanced does not decimate such finite resources.


Surely, responsible world citizens have learned via example over the last century that the Earth's resources are not a free-for-all grab in a climate of laissez-faire entrepreneurship, or one that's open to the first to take.

In decades past when the world population was much smaller and the planet seemed more vast and indestructible, one well-known example illustrates the effect of unchecked entrepreneurship: Whalers nearly wiped out the population of nature's giant waterborne mammals for their oil. Closer to home, the Pacific along the Orange Coast was once the habitat for one of the world's largest schools of sardine and abalone, though it was overfished to elimination some half-century ago.

Today, Oceana fights to ensure the survival of many ocean habitats not just off American shores, but wherever the need for conservation exists. One such effort focuses on the protection of the ocean's shark population being overfished in a horrific manner to satisfy the desire for shark fin soup, an east Asian delicacy. Shark fishermen have for some time been catching the fish, cutting off the fins and throwing the creatures back in the ocean to drown rather than harvesting the entire shark for food.

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