When the ocean is your home, office and a place you eagerly await to visit to restore your peace and tranquility – you tend to care for it just a bit more than others do. 2018 was set from the very beginning to be a journey of deepening love and understanding for the ocean and how every decision we make as an industry affects ecosystems, livelihoods and precious resources. As an aquaculture company, it is important to reach outside the boundaries of the farm and to illuminate the environmental and ocean issues in a real-life setting.
Of course, this couldn’t be just any kind of journey. This needed to be a journey where those communities directly affected by the ocean could learn how to strengthen their efforts to help save such a precious resource. In return, we could deepen our knowledge about their world and improve as an industry. With that very clear goal in mind, we became part of the surfing community. If you are a surfer, you live within the rhythm of the ocean and the weather. If you are a fish farmer, you live within the rhythm of the ocean and the weather. This makes us both sensitive to changes in the environment and passionate about environmental issues. As a sustainable company, to convincingly explain the efforts of our work in aquaculture, it is important to connect the dots as stewards of the ocean through the eyes of the surfer that is immersed in its surroundings each and every day.
Surfing is a sport that is incredibly in tune with the ocean - its waves, mood swings, and all the factors that determine each of those things. We needed to find someone who not only had a deep passion for surfing, but also had a curiosity for what was happening beneath the surface. An incredible turn of events brought us to 10-time Paddleboard World Champion and Professional Big Wave Surfer, Jamie Mitchell.
Jamie has made the ocean his playground, work space and holds the utmost respect for it. Surfing saved his life as a child, helping him overcome severe asthma. Now he is fueled with a passion for learning how he can take care of the ocean by going beneath the surface. As a legend in the surfing community, his goal is to educate those around him about the importance of supporting sustainable aquaculture and the positive effects it has on the health of our oceans when done correctly.
Fish Farmers and surfers are connected through a lifestyle that protects the environment. Why do they love to surf? A swell comes from the ocean and raises a liquid wall or tunnel, and at the moment that it dissipates, they enjoy riding it. However, if the seawater is dirty, if there are plastics in the wave, or the beach is a full of garbage, they do not feel refreshed and no longer enjoy being in the water. Sometimes, excessive fish farming eliminates waves. Therefore, surfers are sensitive to environmental issues. By aligning these two important communities, Verlasso aims to show its impact on a regional, national and international basis - touching the impact points at every level of our fish’s journey.