by Stephen Garner

To celebrate World Oceans Day earlier this month, Ecoalf Foundation has created a short documentary and a digital exhibition that showcases the portraits of the fishermen that are fighting against marine litter, giving them a voice to share what they witness on a day-to-day basis and raise awareness on the state of our oceans.

Ode to Our Ocean Heroes: The Fishermen is a digital exhibition composed of the portraits of the sustainable lifestyle brand’s Upcycling the Oceans fishermen: their personal information, such as their home port and years as a fisherman, and a short interview where they can share their observations of how the ocean has changed over the past years, why they’re concerned about marine pollution, and what they ask of us as citizens to help tackle this issue. It will also include a short video documentary to help each individual make a personal connection with these heroes and get inspired to act now.

Born in 2015, the Ecoalf Foundation’s mission is to clean the oceans of marine waste with the help of the fishing industry and to give a second life to plastic waste through recycling and closing the loop, an example of this is converting the recovered waste into Ecoalf’s high-quality Ocean Yarn. The initiative began with three fishermen in a port in Villajoyosa and has since expanded to include more than 3,000 fishermen across Spain, Thailand, Greece, and Italy. Now, its objective is to reach more than 10,000 fishermen by the year 2025 and clean the entire Mediterranean Sea.

As each of these fishermen pulls in his or her net, mixed among the fish is plastic and waste. This is the moment when they can decide to take a stand and make a difference or leave it for the next person to deal with. This daily decision to be part of the solution, multiplied by 3,000 fishermen has led to the removal of more than 700 tonnes of plastic from our oceans. This digital exposition is meant to honor these fishermen and inspire change across the planet.

“These fishermen participate in a voluntary way, they don’t do it for profit, they do it with their heart,” said Javier Goyeneche, founder and president of Ecoalf. “They are the true changemakers that are fighting against marine litter. We want to give them the opportunity to share with the world what they see every day to encourage each individual to be part of the solution.”

These ocean heroes spend more than 12 hours a day at sea and have seen the decline of our oceans. They are doing everything that they can to combat the growing plastic pollution, but they need the world’s help. Ode to Our Ocean Heroes: The Fishermen will allow them to share their story and their plea to join the effort in tackling global plastic pollution. These 3,000 fishermen have accomplished so much, but if we all incorporate their daily decision to be part of the solution rather than the problem, we can make a deeper change.

Watch the short documentary below.