"The ocean deserves respect"

Freediver Herbert Nitsch

During my many travels throughout the world, some related to championships or records, others related to “fun freediving”, I have observed the often alarming state of our beautiful oceans.

Clean oceans matter, because they are, together with the world’s rainforests, the largest oxygen generators through ocean plants (phytoplankton produce between 50-85% of O2 in the earth’s atmosphere, and in turn they take up carbondioxide CO2). Ocean plants are part of  marine life’s food chain from the smallest marine creature to the largest marine mammal. This fragile ecosystem is easily disturbed by the negligent human treatment it gets.

Evident to any global tourist are the depletion of local fish-stocks of coastal communities and destroying ocean reefs due to commercial fish-factory-vessels; the use by (mainly poor) fishermen of chemical or dynamite fishing techniques; overfishing (think tuna), sharkfinning, whaling.

Freediver Herbert Nitsch

Another serious concern is the continuous the dumping of garbage (the North Pacific trash vortex or gyre being the largest dump of them all); the pollution of waterways leading to the seas by various industries (80% of pollution comes from the land); the use of intelligent marine mammals as entertainment in parks and zoos, or used by the military, and so forth and so on, all creating a chain reaction of one thing leading to another. None of them doing any good to the health of our seven seas

Bottom line is that our beautiful oceans, which encompass the vast majority of our planet, are in a concerning state these days. And very little is done about it. The international waters outside countries’ territories is a free-for-all that is hard to monitor and control. So-called international agreements about for example whaling and fish quota are theoretical and bureaucratical master pieces that have little meaning in practice.

The Sea Shepherd Conservation Society is a leading force in creating awareness to the mainstream public about the state of our oceans and its marine life. Their provocative and effective actions of many volunteers and contributors are an encouragement to doing more. I am therefore very proud to be member of the Sea Shepherd Ocean Advocacy Advisory Board.

In my own small way I hope to contribute by dedicating time to this noble cause in every lecture I give, and thus provide information to audiences from students to doctors to corporations and local communities in various countries (including landlocked countries such as Austria!).

Freediver Herbert Nitsch


Human litter is found in Europe’s oceans from 35 meters to 4.5 km depth.

41% is plastic

34% is fishing lines/nets


Microbeads used in personal care products find their way into waterways, where they absorb other pollutants.


One touching and wonderfully direct op-ed was written in the LA Times by James Cameron and Sir Richard Branson, directed to the President of the United States and his Secretary of State about the (ab)use of our oceans.

Read the whole article in


75-100 million sharks are killed by humans.

Between 5 to 10 humans are killed by sharks.

1.24 million people die in traffic accidents.

Thousands of dolphins are killed in Taiji, Japan

Fin-whale slaying

by Iceland 2014

Dolphin killing in Japan

Plastic Garbage

& Marine Debris

Micro Plastics

found deep in our


Full Scale of

Plastics in our


Politics of Food


Fabulous documentary with host

Sasha Issenberg (journalist and author of "The Sushi Economy")






Photograph taken as a parody and protest of shark finning:

"Real men eat raw shark"