Round the World in 26 Days – Stop 2: Our Ocean, Our Legacy

Created on Thursday, 17 January 2019

From San Diego to Sulawesi to Sumbawa and back, Fall 2018 brought Project Director Erin Taylor through a whirlwind tour of diverse seafood perspectives. In this series, she shares some snapshots from the journey.

In the first post of this 2-part series, I recapped my week in San Diego for the Sea Pact annual meeting.

After this first stop, it was time for a jetlag jolt as I crossed eight time zones to Bali, Indonesia — site of the 2018 Our Ocean Conference.

First sunset upon arriving in Bali, taken from the shores of Jimbaran.

Since 2014, this Conference has brought together some of the most powerful leaders and decision-makers across the globe to make commitments and take action on ocean health.

To give a flavor of exactly who we’re talking about, imagine my surprise when–at my very first event of the conference–I found myself in a small discussion circle with Former US Secretary of State John Kerry, a renowned advocate for ocean issues and catalyst behind Our Ocean!

Awestruck to chat with Former US Secretary of State John Kerry about my work with FishWise!

My mission in Bali was twofold. Primarily, I was there to join the Youth Leadership Summit taking place alongside Our Ocean.

This Summit, co-hosted by the Indonesian government and the Sustainable Ocean Alliance, brought together over 200 young professionals from 65 countries to network and share their ocean-focused projects in marine protected areas, climate change, sustainable fisheries, marine pollution, sustainable blue economy, and maritime security.

My peers were radiating with energy, and as such, I found the Summit to be a profoundly motivating environment. We were representing the next generation of environmental and ocean professionals–and, arguably, the last generation able to make a difference before some impacts of climate change and ocean degradation become irreversible.

The other part of my Bali mission complemented the Summit’s 30,000-foot view well.

As a continuation of our partnership with North Atlantic, Inc./Bali Seafood International (BSI), FishWise supported BSI in hosting an Our Ocean side event.

While most of the Youth Leadership Summit focused on the ocean environment, BSI’s intent was to bring light to the people relying on the ocean–in their case, seafood workers.

BSI is in a unique position in owning a seafood processing plant in Indonesia. This means they have direct control over the welfare of their plant workers. In recent years, BSI has noted the need for innovation in social responsibility, or the way we address human and labor rights for workers.

In response to this need, BSI is exploring a joint project with the Indonesia Seafarers Union, an organized labor association, and other partners.

This project aims to apply collective bargaining approaches taken in other maritime sectors to fisheries. Collective bargaining arrangements can be a strong tool for making sure workers have a platform to voice grievances and assert their rights.

The side event brought together important experts in social responsibility and solicited initial thoughts on the BSI concept through roundtable discussions. Stay tuned as this initiative rolls ahead over the coming year!

My experience at these convenings in Bali underscored just how big and diverse the world is, as well as how urgent ocean health issues are. I was able to hear from so many people from so many backgrounds on how climate change, plastic pollution, and other issues that are directly impacting their lives and the lives of their communities.

This certainly served as a call to action for me, and I hope you find your own call to action by continuing to read stories of both the ocean environment and the people who depend on it.

After Our Ocean, I joined my FishWise colleague Alanna Gisondo, Senior Project Manager for SALT, for the next legs of my journey.

Read about the next stop.