IUCN Global Marine & Polar Programme
October 22, 2013
During the 3rd International Marine Protected Areas Congress (IMPAC3) in Marseille, France, William Winram made his official debut as new IUCN Ambassador for the Oceans. IUCN is the acronym for International Union for the Conservation of Nature.
Q: This is pretty exciting news, how did this come about?
A: In the winter of 2012, I was giving a conference for a WWF’s fundraiser at the Gstaad Yacht Club, Switzerland, an event IUCN Director General Julia Marton-Lefèvre had been invited to. We spoke before and after the conference. Julia then introduced me to IUCN Global Marine and Polar Programme Director Carl Gustaf Lundin. We met on several occasions to discuss ocean conservation as he was inquisitive to know how I managed to be a high-level competitive breath-hold diver all the while also putting the same skills to the service of the world’s oceans. It was for me a unique opportunity to share with him and his staff the kind of work which can be done on a breath-hold to support scientists in their ocean conservation research and also to share with the public a much needed and different perspective on the oceans and sharks in particular.
At some point in our discussions we started to speak about a collaboration between the IUCN and I as well as THE WATERMEN PROJECT which eventually led Carl Gustaf Lundin to ask me to consider becoming an IUCN Oceans Ambassador.
Q: Why did you accept?
A: I accepted because it was a great honour for me to be asked. The IUCN is the world’s oldest and largest conservation/environment membership organization, which brings together states, government agencies, non-governmental organizations, scientists and experts in a unique worldwide partnership. I am very proud to be involved with them. I was greatly excited and honoured by this and the possibility to make an even bigger contribution to ocean conservation.
Q: What do you hope to accomplish as Oceans Ambassador for the IUCN?
A: I hope that by collaborating with the IUCN we can expand the scope of the type of non-invasive tagging work we do to support a greater number of scientists and researchers. I am also hoping to help expand awareness of the incredible work the IUCN is involved in in many aspects of conservation. I will also continue to break records in the sport of breath-hold diving as a means of traction on the media to shed light on the plight of sharks.