Time sure flies when you're saving the cod

I’m proud to say I’ve been here making a contribution to that national program for the last three and a half of those years, but when I started working with WWF, I honestly didn’t know much about what was happening beneath our ocean waters. I didn’t realize how many marine species were threatened, or how my seafood choices at the grocery store had an impact on the long-term sustainability of a species. I never really thought about what was going on under the water’s surface, or cared really.
I can now say that I am well versed in ocean conservation. Can list many species that are in need of our conservation help, can tell you the impacts that fishing gear, waste oil and debris, climate change, and the effect that the depletion of a species has on the rest of the food chain. I can even tell you many of the species’ Latin names. Never in a million years would I have thought that I would know so much, or care so much about Grand Banks cod fish, and the historical devastation of a species that was once so plentiful it could be scooped up by the bucketful, but I’m proud that I do. And I am proud to celebrate the last 10 years that WWF has worked so hard to protect our oceans, rivers and lakes.

Tony Maas, WWF-Canada freshwater director (c) Stacey McCarthy/WWF-Canada
Thanks to collaborations with other ENGOs, government and industry, and the generous support of our donors we have been a part of many conservation successes on the water over the past decade.
Here are a few of the highlights:

In February we celebrated our anniversary in Halifax by showcasing our Marine program from coast to coast to coast at Dalhousie University. We also held an evening reception and dinner featuring a special presentation by Dr. Joe MacInnis – physician, explorer, motivational speaker and author. This day gave us the opportunity to meet and thank some of our long-time supporters for making our conservation work possible, and to educate others on what we do and the role that each of us can play in marine conservation. We are only successful in our efforts because we do not work alone. Conservation takes many hands.

As you have been reading in previous blogs these past few weeks, on April 29, the WWF celebrated the organization’s 50th anniversary – that’s 50 years of protecting many species on land, in the air and in our waters, 50 years of protecting threatened spaces, and 50 years of protecting our fragile environment. I am fortunate to have learned what conservation role I can play right here on the job, but you readers don’t necessarily have that same advantage. So it is up to me, to all of us here at WWF, to make you care, to tell you what you can do to ensure that the next 10 year and 50 year anniversaries will be a celebration of how healthy our oceans are, how many species have come back from the brink of extinction, and how much the effects of climate change have been reduced.

On my desk sits one of our symbolic adoption stuffed cod fish – I call him “Rod the Cod” and he is a daily reminder of what I am working toward. He may not be as cute and cuddly as our Pandas, or Orangutans, but he has character, and a pretty impressive history. You may be interested in adopting one yourself, but beware – he may turn you into a “cod hugger” like me!