Welcome to our "Ocean Passion Series" where we are interviewing ordinary people doing extraordinary actions for the ocean. We believe learning from others can help our own life become more engaged and inspired. This week we have an underwater videographer named Roy Mulder from the westcoast of Canada who says "My life is highly influenced by my concerns for the ocean."
Hello Roy, can you tell us about yourself and where you are in the world ?
I am a digital media producer and live in Vancouver British Columbia most of the year and summers in Nova Scotia. My work takes me in many directions and often connects me to my passion of diving and marine conservation. I have worked with numerous boards of directors over the years working on marine and environmentally oriented initiatives. I prefer working with organizations and groups who are interested in real world activities and partnerships with other like-minded organizations. I have been creating images for decades and use them as a tool to engage the public and enamour them with nature.
Great way to spend your time by being on both coasts of Canada with two different oceans. We love your conviction to work with organizations/groups that want to deal with real world activities as there can be many that don't want to venture for change or allow egos to get involved. We have seen many groups/organizations implode and cease to be of any service to anyone or any actions that would provide great positive change. Roy we see you're the President at the Canadian Marine Environment Protection Society. Please tell us what your mission is and do you have any special campaigns you can share with our readers regarding the Ocean?
“The Canadian Marine Environment Protection Society (CMEPS)
is a registered charitable society working to educate Canadians about the need to protect the ocean's remaining natural ecosystems for their biological and cultural importance, now and for the future”CMEPS is currently working closely with the World Cetacean Alliance
on issues involving cetaceans. We also are working locally in British Columbia to create more protections for sponge reef systems and rockfish protections. Canada currently only gives 1.3% full protection to its’ vast coastline. We would like to see areas deserving of protection set aside to maintain our biological diversity.
That is incredible projects Roy! To hear there is only 1.3% of Canada's coastline is being protected is sadly not a shock to our team. With the world's oceans having only 1.5% as a protected marine sanctuary we completely agree with you that we need more protection and policing for to maintain biological diversity. Tell us how long have you known your passion for the ocean and can you remember that day or situation that brought it to the surface and led you towards its protection?
I found an old photograph of myself with a mask on at age 3. I was inspired by the likes of “Sea Hunt” and “Jacques Cousteau” on television. I still remember seeing my first live scuba diver at a local beach in Ontario. After this my father registered both of us in a diving course at our local military base. 43 years later I am still a frequent diver and as interested in diving now as I ever was. Having spent considerable time learning the life in specific dive sites, it became apparent that the fish were being fished out at an alarming rate. This led me to joining the Underwater Council of British Columbia board of directors where I worked on creating marine sanctuaries, helping to develop a mooring buoy for divers system to protect the environment. These sites went on to enjoy protections under the Rockfish Conservation Area strategy.
Oh great! You are definitely active and motivated to help the ocean on a higher level. Over-fishing at this time has to be one of the worst criminal acts to our oceans. With no regulations being enforced to protect what is in place and loopholes allowing an alarming amount of fish to be landed is destroying the oceans on so many levels. The worst part is when the governments of the world set limits for fishing certain species they don't even listen to the scientist any longer. This increase in numbers added to the illegal amounts landed drive many species to extinction faster. Thank you for the actions you are taking to create more marine sanctuaries! How has your passion for the ocean changed your thinking and your life?
My life is highly influenced by my concerns for the ocean. I do my best to disseminate information about ocean conservation issues and use my photos and videography to get the messages out. I am concerned that 9/10’s of the world’s big fish are gone and we are losing coral to acidification at an alarming rate. I cannot sit idly by and watch this happen.
Yes sadly there is a recipe for disaster occurring in our oceans as we talk. With over-fishing being a massively destructive key to the oceans decline there are others like acidification, dead zones, plastics, and coral reef decline to name a few major players. Each of these destructive players are increasing in strength on a daily basis and we need more people like yourself to stand up and find ways to stop the source. Creating your life journey with the ocean in parallel did it help build a strong character and skills within you? Can you describe?
It takes determination and passion to maintain a desire to best benefit the marine conservation movement. It requires the ability to build relationships and develop partnerships that work. No one can do work like this alone. My best accomplishments have always been with the help of many like-minded others. The skill set also requires the need to be able to handle being challenged at a personal level, which in the world of today’s social media, can be quite difficult. Conflict resolution is a good skill to have. My photo abilities are the culmination of education and years of experience. Combined with an associate certificate in fundraising management, I have found ways to best benefit my organizations.
Excellent! You are showing our readers that passion helps create an initiative for change. You bringing your skills to these organizations will help create a ripple of positive change for the ocean on so many levels.
What ocean conservation organization is your favorite and why?
Currently the World Cetacean Alliance
is my favourite organization. As one of the founding members and a trustee, I have watched this organization grow and prosper from its’ inception five years ago. This is an international philanthropic organization composed of cetacean scientists, researchers, whale watching companies and marine conservation groups and individuals. The combination of points of view and mass of experience of members, allows an excellent view of cetaceans and the challenges they face. The international nature of the organization allow us to have a global view of numerous different cetacean populations.
Outstanding! Combining of so many like-minded individuals with different skill-sets and experience coming together for the betterment of cetaceans is amazing. We can see this growing very large as more people and organizations take a lead to help the ocean and the earth.
Have you seen changes in the ocean since you have been diving?
I have watched entire populations of fish go into decline or extinction. Currently I’ve seen the results of acidification and the die off of coral. The most dramatic thing I’ve seen to date was the die off of all of the sea stars from wasting disease in a period of 3 weeks. The subsequent change of the ocean environment from this die off was dramatic. Although the sea stars are slowly coming back, it is clear damage has been done, and whatever comes next, will be different and more likely than not, not in a good way. The ocean cannot continue to provide fish for humans when the rate of extraction is greater than is being replenished. Unless we can stop acidification and set aside 20-30% of the entire ocean as fully protected, we have very little hope of recovery.
That is completely sad to hear about the sea stars. It is incredible to hear how fast their decline happened. Three weeks is something hard to fathom on a way to protect them from it. We know of so many organizations out there like the ones you're involved with that are advocating for the oceans' protection. We feel hopeful that all of these ideas are coming together in a way we couldn't plan properly without having experienced it before. The problems we are facing is completely new to us. However we love watching the growth of new sustainable diets that protect the lives in the ocean, new documentaries that educate on a grand scale, and grassroots movements that are growing especially for climate change. There is becoming many ways for people to get involved that in the end focus on the one goal and that is protection.
What would be your favorite thing about the ocean?
It is difficult to state any one species that matters most. If there is one thing I have learned, it is that all life is connected. That is why I don’t advocate for one species, we need to protect them all. Beyond a doubt diving and underwater videography is where my passion lies.
Your photos along with your words definitely showcase what you protect and aim to get others to feel the love and reasons to step up with you. We are thrilled to see such a leader with us today as we have learned how your powerful passion is creating ripples for change on so many levels. Thank you for joining us today Roy we are honored.
Check back next week on the Ocean Passion Series to find out who our next ocean passionate guest will be and you will never be disappointed! Check out our past guests here >>Ocean Passion Series<<
So be sure to follow us on Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, and add your email to our list so you will be involved in our mission!