September’s Guest Speaker – Kurt Lieber of Ocean Defenders Alliance

This month’s speaker is Kurt Lieber, Founder and President of Ocean Defenders Alliance. Ocean Defenders Alliance works to clean and protect marine ecosystems through documentation, education, and meaningful action. Working with affected communities, they focus primarily on the reduction and removal of man-made debris which poses serious threats to ocean wildlife and habitats.

Kurt with his Mother, and Filmmaker David Nelson, and environmentalist Holly GrayWhere: Round Table Pizza
10070 Southwest Barbur Boulevard
Portland, OR 97219

When: Thursday, September 3rd, 2015 at 7:00 pm

Kurt’s Bio: Ocean Defenders Alliance is a non-profit organization, whose goals are to work for a debris free sea.  Kurt Lieber is the founder and president of this Southern California based group.

Kurt has been helping out with marine related organizations in southern California since 1982.  He has spent time volunteering with: Marine Forest Society, Friends of the Sea Lion (now called the Pacific Marine Mammal Center), Pacific Wildlife Project and Sea Shepherd Conservation Society.

Kurt has been scuba diving our waters ever since he moved here in 1979.  While enjoying the wonderful diversity of ocean wildlife, he also saw the downside of the loss of bio-diversity happening right in front of his eyes.  He decided to start organizing people to remove man-made debris from our waters in order to prevent this gear from killing animals needlessly.

Thus was born Ocean Defenders Alliance,  whose mission is to remove abandoned fishing gear and facilitate the rehabilitation of our marine ecosystems.  This ghost gear kills marine life long after it is discarded.  Most nets are made out of either nylon or monofilament line, and scientists estimate they will last over 650 years in the oceans before they fall apart and break up into smaller pieces of plastic.

ODA was started in 2000 with a donated boat and a lot of enthusiasm from local activists.  They obtained official non-profit status in 2002.  By 2004 they were out pulling abandoned lobster traps off the coast of Laguna Beach, Orange County.  In 2007 Sea Shepherd donated a 40 foot boat to ODA.  Renamed the “CLEARWATER”, this boat allowed us to go out for longer voyages and to start removing abandoned fishing nets for the first time.

Then in 2014, with the help of Mr. Bob Barker, we purchased a new (used) boat.  We renamed it Mr. Barker’s LegaSea.  The LegaSea is a 55 foot sport fishing boat that we re-configured to accommodate up to 6 divers and a support crew of 5.

ODA enlists the help from the local dive and environmental community to achieve their goals.  ODA is a volunteer based organization and welcome’s your help, suggestions and donations to keep them on and under the water.