The 3 most inspiring moments that came out of the Monte-Carlo Gala for the Global Oceans.
A guest post from Jamie Mitchell, a ten-time world champion paddle boarder, World Surf League big wave surfer, ocean champion, and sustainable aquaculture advocate.
As a surfer & paddleboarder, the ocean has given me everything in my life. It’s been my biggest
teacher and taught me so many lessons – wisdom that I want to pass to my daughters. For me, it’s time to step up to the plate and give a lot more back.
Over the past year, my views on aquaculture completely changed when I visited several fish farms while shooting the short documentary, Journey of a Waterman. My eyes opened to the fact that fish farming can actually be done right, and I saw how large of a role sustainable aquaculture plays in ocean health.
Recently, I was given an incredible opportunity to share this message and dive even deeper into the world of ocean conservation while attending the Monte-Carlo Gala for the Global Ocean.
For the second year in a row, Prince Albert II of Monaco hosted this annual fundraising event for worldwide initiatives calling for immediate, collective action to protect our oceans.
As he said at the event, “The ocean is our lifeblood. Our living standards, our economy and even our health depends on it. However, pressures from climate change and marine pollution are putting our ocean under severe stress. I believe that there is hope, if we work hand-in-hand.” I couldn’t agree with him more.
It was so inspiring to see activists like Orlando Bloom, Madonna, Pierce Brosnan, and Robert F. Kennedy Jr., amongst many, many others, rallying around these urgent issues. I was lucky enough to have been invited by the Princess of Monaco and her brother, who I first met in Santa Barbara about six years ago through a mutual friend. We all got to hang out for a few days, and I took them stand up paddle boarding, which was a blast.
By the end of the trip, she had asked me to come to Monaco to show the film, Decade of Dominance (which shares my journey preparing for and competing in the World Championship of Paddleboarding) and do a paddling demo day.
Of course, I jumped at the chance. I absolutely love taking people out on the water. It’s when you’re out there – with nothing but the sky, the ocean, you and your board – that you feel such a deep connection to the planet. It’s utter bliss.
At the gala, I was able to share this feeling with some people and have open, honest conversations about aquaculture. Most people don’t really understand it, so I encouraged them to check out Journey of a Waterman and learn how sustainable seafood farming is a powerful solution that needs more public support.
Perhaps the highlight of the night for me was the auction, when I got to see over €25 million raised to fight plastic pollution, fund scientific studies on acidification, protect coral reefs, expand marine protected areas, save endangered species, and provide much-needed environmental education.
Pro surfer Kelly Slater also donated a really awesome opportunity - a chance to surf on his wave pool, which went for over $500,000. I wished I could have bid on that one!
While I’m training for the upcoming World Surf League Big Wave tour season, I’m also working on a project for next summer that involves the Channel Islands and raising awareness and funds for sustainability in many areas, including aquaculture.
It gave me so much hope to see thought leaders and activists coming together to support our oceans at the gala, and I can’t wait to see the positive impact that it has. I know that I’ll be continuing to do my part.