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Olympic and America's Cup champions announce new ocean ambition

by Gemma Ross 11 Nov 2019 06:00 NZDT 11 November 2019
Peter Burling and Blair Tuke have announced Live Ocean © Live Ocean

Olympic and America's Cup champions Peter Burling and Blair Tuke have announced the establishment of Live Ocean, a registered New Zealand charity with a focus on ocean conservation. Burling and Tuke say they’re excited about what may be their biggest challenge of all.

Live Ocean’s vision is for New Zealand to be a world leading champion in ocean health. It aims to support and invest in promising marine science, innovation, technology and marine conservation projects. It will also inspire and educate New Zealanders on ways to make positive change for the ocean.

“This is just the start. We’ve called it Live Ocean because that’s what we all want. New Zealand should be a world leader in ocean health, we have over four million square kilometres of ocean and what we do here is globally significant” says Peter Burling.

“We’ve been talking to scientists, iwi and ocean leaders over the past year. We keep hearing the same thing; the ocean is changing quickly, these are complex issue and we need to invest in promising marine research, innovation, people and projects. We need to move much faster” says Blair Tuke.

Our ocean in crisis In New Zealand 90% of our seabirds are threatened with, or at risk of extinction, almost one-third of marine mammals are threatened and less than 0.5% of our marine territory is fully protected.

A recent report by the IPCC, The Special Report on the Ocean and Crysophere (SROCC) contributed to by more than 100 scientists from 36 countries, shows urgent action is needed at scale to protect and restore the ocean.

The first project

Live Ocean is asking the public to join it in its race to help save New Zealand’s Antipodean albatross. Unless immediate action is taken this albatross set to become functionally extinct. The breeding population has declined from 17,000 in 2004 to 6,000 in 2019. The population is in freefall.

“We have our blinkers on when it comes to the ocean, it’s much harder to see the issues than on land. The Antipodean albatross is an indicator of what’s happening in the ocean. We need to step up as a team because there are things we can do today to save them from extinction. These birds are New Zealanders” says Blair Tuke.

Live Ocean is asking the public to donate at www.liveocean.com to help save the Antipodean albatross from extinction and follow the story.

The future

Despite their busy sailing schedule, both Burling and Tuke see Live Ocean as working in parallel to their sailing careers and say “we’ve got the right team to drive it forward while we’re out on the water. The best thing we can do for Live Ocean is to race well” says Burling.

Peter Burling and Blair Tuke are the founders of Live Ocean and it’s led by Chief Executive Sally Paterson. Trustees are Miranda Burdon, Shelley Campbell and Jez Fanstone.

As well as sailing both Burling and Tuke are keen surfers and free divers. They are excited about the challenge and the opportunity to be part of positive change for our ocean.

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