According to Andrew Sharpless, Oceana's chief executive officer, this year's contributions from La Mer will go toward two major initiatives. One is an effort with Congress to tighten up rules that govern the handling of sharks. Sharpless said the objective is to curb the common practice of cutting fins off sharks, often when they are still alive, and throwing the mutilated fish back into the ocean. The second effort involves collaborating with the World Trade Organization to discourage governments, mostly in Europe and Asia, from subsidizing local fishing industries, thereby creating overcapacity and resulting in overfishing.
A handful of celebrities, socialites, models and media people gathered for the reception at Rockefeller Center in Manhattan to support the cause, including Ted Danson, Amber Valletta, Rosario Dawson, Michelle Trachtenberg, Byrdie Bell, Jessica Stam, Alek Wek and John Varvatos.
Danson, who sits on Oceana's board of directors, has been a supporter of the cause over the past 20 years. "It was a combination of getting paid silly amounts of money from 'Cheers' and having a feeling of being responsible," said Danson. "I would walk with my children along the beach and find 'no swimming in the water' signs because the water was polluted and my children asked me why — not having an answer for my children is what made me start to take action. It's not just about building awareness but changing policy." Danson said the partnership between Oceana and La Mer made sense since both are based on science and beauty. He first discovered the powers of the ultraluxury skin care line through his three daughters. "They already warned me that they all want their own liquid gold, so if I come back empty handed, I'll be in trouble."
"The first signs of life started with the ocean and water is a basic necessity of not just human life but all species," said Dawson. "For me, looking at the ocean I've always been able to be awed by power of mother nature. By hurting it we're only hurting ourselves so we need to be more understanding of world out there."