Gourmet & Lifestyle

Failing Government Policy Urges Filmmakers to Put ‘Eyes on the Ocean’


As marine life continues to rapidly decline , it becomes more evident that governments worldwide are failing to carry out their pledge to protect the underwater world. Ocean Collective—a group of documentary filmmakers—is launching a crowdfunding campaign for a docuseries highlighting conservation issues and solutions. 

April 22, 2022. The United Nations has named the period of 2021-2030 as the ‘ocean decade,’ but governments have not yet taken adequate measures to conserve marine life. In response to their inaction, Ocean Collective, a global network of filmmakers, will be launching a documentary series to bring awareness to the deteriorating conditions of sea dwellers and urge people to act. 

In March of this year, legal action was taken against the EU by a green law group for unsustainable fishing quotas. After a decade of negotiations and three conferences, the fourth round of U.N. talks also failed to finalize a treaty to manage and protect parts of the high seas. As such, marine life continues to be exploited.

report by the Environmental Justice Foundation revealed that China’s distant-water fleet, which operates beyond the state’s exclusive economic zone, continues to plunder the oceans for resources. Government subsidies of around 1.8 billion EUR have allowed vessels to exploit waterways vital to the food security of underdeveloped countries.

Furthermore, a Stanford University study published in early April identified the areas most vulnerable to illicit, unreported, and unregulated fishing (IUU). The authors were able to simulate IUU hazards at sea by integrating the findings of expert surveys with „big data“ on 8.7 million fishing trips and 5.800 transshipment incidents.

The risk score of ports for IUU fishing, where blue indicates a low risk, and red indicates a high risk. (Nature.com)

Docuseries captures unique efforts to conserve oceans

In response to the declining state of marine life, Ocean Collective will be creating a documentary series titled “Rise of the Ocean Tribe”. It will star Madison Stewart, a.k.a. „shark girl Madison,“ Australian filmmaker and fierce ocean activist who aims to record the devastation of oceans while focusing on the individuals, communities, and technology that are helping to turn a positive tide. Madison Stewart was previously featured in Rob Stewart’s “Sharkwater Extinction”

“We cannot depend on governments to solve these issues; we must also accept responsibility for our own actions. Because the film can impact people emotionally as well as inspire and educate, I feel empowered as a filmmaker to fuel the ocean conservation movement,” said Stewart.

“I genuinely think that each and every one of us can make a difference. We all have skills that we can put to good use in order to protect the ocean,” she continued.

Madison Stewart diving with what she sees as ‘family.’

Madison describes herself as a tech diver, filmmaker, and misfit, having been a fierce activist since the age of 14. She started Project Hiu, a non-profit organization that helps shark fishermen convert to workers within the eco-tourism industry. According to her, this transition provides them with a new (and higher) source of income while also conserving the shark population.

“The documentary series aims to capture the beauty and fragility of the ocean while also amplifying the stories of hope. Madison’s approach to conservation is a great example of that,” explained Bob van de Gronde, director of  Ocean Collective.

Blockchain technology — a new way to crowdfund

“Rise of the Ocean Tribe” is the first environmental docuseries to use blockchain technology in funding the endeavor. Ocean Collective will sell a collection of digital art (NFTs) on Polygon blockchain to help raise money for the documentary.

An oceanic manta ray, hovering in the futuristic Museum of Extinction.

“We predict that the value of the digital artworks will rise as our film production progresses. The way this approach differs from standard crowdfunding methods is that we allow a decentralized community to profit financially as the project grows in popularity,” noted van de Gronde.

The collection of NFts titled The Museum of Extinction displays ten marine species from the IUCN ‘red list’ of endangered species. The project, made by digital artist Melodysheep, is an artistic visualization of the irreversible damage to marine ecosystems that could become a reality within our lifetime. The artworks will be for sale on Open Sea starting April 19th, 16:00 CET.. 

Some of the artwork is one-of-a-kind, while others have several duplicates. The number of copies corresponds to the real-life conservation status of the depicted animals. 

With every artwork sold, Ocean Collective will donate 20% of the proceeds to projects that are cleaning the ocean from plastics, sequestering carbon from the atmosphere and saving sharks. 


Ocean Collective is a global network of filmmakers who want to honor, protect and restore the ocean. Founded on World’s Ocean Day in 2020, they use the power of storytelling to raise awareness, affect policy change, and influence people to become changemakers. The team at Ocean Collective creates documentaries to start important conversations as well as partake in community-initiated projects that are created to directly impact the state of the ocean. The video about their story can be found here.

©2021 Ocean Collective. All Rights Reserved.

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