Turning the Tide: An Art Project

Welcome to the official website of Turning the Tide, an ocean conservation organization.

Turning the Tide is addressing the serious problem of lack of ocean awareness on the issues of dead zones and plastic pollution. To battle this deficit, this organization is using art of all forms, making those problems the prime subjects. Painting, photography, writing, sketching, film, and any other creative arts will be used to raise awareness for the effect of pollution on the marine environment.

Currently, the ocean is facing several problems— pollution, oil spills, climate change, and more are all hammering down on one of the greatest resources. The target of Turning the Tide is narrowed down to mainly pollution, which is not only destroying some of the beauty of the beaches but contributing to deaths of species all around the globe. The National Ocean Service states that over 70% of the planet is covered in water, which shows that wherever pollution originates, it can have a great effect on the ocean. The mission of Turning the Tide is to educate the public about the effects of plastic litter abuse, animal agriculture, and overfishing as well.

While Turning the Tide mainly targets pollution, the problem of overfishing must also be addressed. Astounding numbers of fish get caught in nets or are discarded as by-kill. This is destroying a large part of the ocean as well—the life beneath its very waves.

Through many methods, most prominently social media, Turning the Tide endeavors to capture its readers and watchers through one of the farthest-stretching words in our language— art. Using litter as art and making it a highlight of the organization, Turning the Tide will be raising awareness on how even trash can be beautiful when properly disposed of. By making pollution and overfishing a subject in the art, Turning the Tide will be targeting those problems, too.

Turning the Tide looks to raise awareness not only about these particular issues of the oceans, but the beauty that exists of this incredible world beneath the waves.

Notes on Overfishing and By-Kill

Overfishing is taking a deadly toll on the oceans.

Fish is commonly seen as a source of protein and B12. While I personally am a vegan, and therefore do not eat fish, the point to be made is that fish is in high demand. This, combined with the advancing technology in fishing, is starting to overwhelm reefs and other fishing sights.

Devastating numbers mentioned mentioned by the Fisheries and Aquaculture Department in Table 11 of a document reporting on shrimp overfishing shows that much more is being caught than shrimp. The fish that are not intended to be caught are referred to as by-catch. Thousands, and in some areas, millions of unintended fish are caught. Based on the data collected (tied to the data in Table 4), up to 98% of fish are simply discarded as by-kill. The lowest percent noted is 40%, yet even 40% is a problem.

The table concludes with an estimated average of 85% of by-catch being discarded as by-kill. I decided to add up the numbers myself to see if they were adding the percentages and finding the mean, or whether they were using the quantitative data in the table.

Using percentages and mean would be less reliable as fish populations would vary in different locations. If the actual amounts of fish were used, that would give an estimated percent of the overfishing problem around the globe.

I added the numbers and found that the locations combined had an estimated by-catch of 11,207,760. I then added the estimated discards. That number was 9,511,973 fish that were simply discarded as by-kill. Then, the division of 9,511,973 by the estimated by-catch (11,207,760) was a decimal of 0.84869527898. So, yes, the math used by the table was done with the more reliable and true method. 85% is a logical rounding of 84.8695%. I calculated the mean of the percentages. It was 84.33%. While this was close, it could not be rounded to 85%, but would round to 84%. So this helped me conclude that the source did indeed use the more reliable method.

The number of 85% is absolutely astounding, and this problem clearly must be addressed. While the document listed a variety of resources, I wanted to have more than one opinion on overfishing.

I used a site:.edu search to see what universities and other scholarly articles noted on overfishing. Massachusetts Institute of Technology summarized several facts, quoted below from Mission 2015: Biodiversity.

  • In 2000, 72 percent of the world’s marine fish resources were either fully exploited or in decline according to the FAO (Duke)
  • The tonnage of fish caught in American fisheries from 1950 to 2006 has doubled to more than 4.3 million tons per year (NOAA 2007)
  • Roughly one-third of the world’s coral reef systems have been destroyed or highly degraded” (“Fishing and Aquaculture”)

I also have cited several other sources at the bottom of the post.

In conclusion, these sources agree—while overfishing numbers vary by area, it is a problem all over the world. The issue we face with the oceans is sometimes the immense mass they have. Because of this, problems we cause can spread around the globe. It is also so vast that much of what we do is careless. The ocean is a strong ecosystem, but the level of destruction we are causing will put the ecology out of balance. Since the ocean affects land ecosystems as well, what we put into the ocean is what we will get out of it.

Sources (Not Noted):
Battaglia, Nicole. Yale College 
Dartmouth Undergraduate Journal of Science 
The Pew Environment Group
Scripps Institution of Oceanography
Tao, Kenny. University of California

Overfishing Political Cartoon


Cameron’s Note: This was originally published under my name. My apologies to Mr. Putnick; it is now corrected.

This sketched political cartoon represents the devastating process of overfishing. The nations of the world (the globe figure), using the rod of “overfishing,” are depleting ocean life for the main purpose of sea food. 

The World Wildlife Foundation (http://www.fishforward.eu/en/topics/facts-figures/) reports the following alarming facts:

  • In 2013, around 93 million tons of fish were caught world-wide
  • 29% of the world’s fish stocks are overfished
  • Over just 40 years there has been a decrease recorded in marine species of 39% 
  • Illegal and unregulated fishing constitutes an estimated 11-26 million tons (12-28%) of fishing world-wide

World Ocean’s Day – Recap

World Ocean’s Day took place around the world, but we met it at Mote Marine Laboratory in Sarasota, Florida. I brought the painting to be decorated with plastic bottle caps, and we were able to get a message out about what we are doing.

It was very exciting and we met some very interesting people! Here is a time lapse of the event.

We were paired up with the organization we interviewed, Green Gasparilla! I personally think the two groups made a good team working together.

Overall the event was excellent as it allowed me to see an audience, but it also did help me realize that plastic pollution was being addressed by various groups already. Some of the just-as-large problems such as overfishing and agricultural pollution weren’t being spoken about, so the event also helped me expand my personal focus.

In conclusion the event was very enjoyable and a good way to raise awareness for the good of the planet.

Shifting My Focus

Hello everyone! I am personally shifting my focus for myself, and I hope it will expand to the organization.

While I still hope to address the issue of plastic pollution, I’ve come to realize that there are some other large issues that haven’t been addressed as strongly as plastic pollution has. I still encourage the movement against plastic pollution, and that will have a role in my art as well, I would like to also bring attention to ocean dead zones and overfishing. I feel that these issues are just as much of a problem as well, and they are less talked about than plastic pollution.

In a future post, I will discuss World Ocean’s Day. Here, I met a fantastic amount of people, but I also met some good and bad news. Almost every organization focused on a sort of plastic pollution. This is good news in the fact that plastic pollution is being discussed and repelled, but bad news in the fact that very few people were discussing dead zones and overfishing, which are problems that are just as large.

The purpose of Turning the Tide is the same, but its target is just expanding. The main weapon that Turning the Tide will use remains art, but I want to also speak on dead zones and overfishing, as well as plastic pollution.

I encourage you to target these issues in your art in the future, too! Try doing a bit of your own research and come to your conclusion about what you want to focus your art on.


Dead Zones
Lee Bryant, Phys.org
Cowspiracy (Award-Winning Documentary) 
Environmental Protection Agency 
National Ocean Service 
Scientific American 
Virginia Institute of Marine Science 

Over Fishing
Cowspiracy (Award-Winning Documentary) 
Fen Montaigne, National Geographic
United Nations Environment Programme 
United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization

World Oceans Day

On June 3rd, I will be participating at the World Oceans Day festival at Mote Marine Laboratory! In preparation for the event, I have painted a 24 by 30 inch simple painting of a dolphin.


During the event, it is planned for visitors to decorate the painting by writing their name on a bottle cap and adding it to the canvas. We can then glue it on. By the end of the event, we should have an interesting painting/collage of a dolphin! This will once again be illustrating a message about the effect of plastic pollution while also producing a work of art.

We invite all who are interested to join us for the event. 🙂

Here is the painting!


Creating a Plastic Bottle Fish


I created this black ‘n blue fish out of two 2 liter bottles. The fins were cut from pieces of the plastic bottle, while the eyes are really bottle caps. The back tail is made from the plastic wrapper around one of the bottles, while the blue stripes are simply segments of blue painter’s tape. Before adding the eyes and stripes, the entire body of the fish was spray-painted black. 



Paper Flies

A song I wrote a while ago about how us as humans are destroying the earth we live on by polluting it.

​Paper flies round in the wind

And the monster’s just around the bend

Plastics are fused with the earth
And the monster’s just behind the mound

Our unrecycled waste
Will destroy us in great haste
As we ignore the signs our earth is sending us
And the fumes ascend outta the old grey bus
Poisoning our atmosphere
No one sees what matters here
Our world
Which used to thrive
Now has few things still alive

Once, the king of the jungle
A lion, once loud and proud
HA, not anymore
Loved by few
Hunted by more
It’s species has fallen
Into a typecast of gore

The massive whales that ruled the water
Now killed into hidden submission by
Now that we own the sky
The sea, the land, and space
You’d think that we’d by wiser
Seeing through our high tech, electronic vizor.

*instrumental stuff*

Smoggy skies
Groggy eyes
The humans are the monsters
In this prolonged fairy tale
That analyzes our story
As we travel down this dark trail

All the monsters want is
Money and fame
And the bee’s are disappearing because
Honey is lame?
But know that some monsters don’t wanna
Play this dangerous game anymore

*instrumental stuff*

Know that nature disapproves
The tools that humans use
They crack and break the earth
So they can increase their worth

Paper flies, through the skies
Running from the monster’s lies

Plastics are fused, with rock
Trying to escape the human’s lock

But it won’t get away
If we treat the earth this way
Almost everyday
Almost everyway
The monsters ravage this place
While we run out face
A race against time
A race to the line
No one sees the true direction
That were heading in
No one sees our true reflection
But no one looks again

Paper flies, through the skies
Running from the monster’s lies

Plastics are fused, with rock
Trying to escape the human’s lock

Paper flies, through the skies
Running from the monster’s lies

Plastics are fused, with rock
Trying to escape the human’s lock

Mother Nature wouldn’t want it like this
And it’s not like humans have just hit and missed

Our Earth is clogged with smog
That acts as a massive fog
It’s like the human’s don’t
Want to see the rays of the sun
Anymore, like they’ve given up and run
The factories churn out harmful gas
So much that we’ll soon have to wear a mask

Most of them are
Or simply
They care about themsleves
But we can’t move on without them
It’ll be team effort
Fixin our man-made problems
All of us will have to exert
A huge amount of work
But it can be done
We can save our doomed planet
And we really gotta plan it
To help us see the sun again
To help us have fun again.

Paper flies round in the wind
And the human helps it reach it’s end

Thanks for reading. 😀

Starting Logo for Turning the Tide

Screen Shot 2017-05-01 at 10.36.35 PM

Hello everyone, here is the official note that this is the starting logo for Turning the Tide! Over time, the logo may change, but this is for now the best logo I personally have designed. If you would like to design a logo, please feel free to contact us with an email at turningthetideproject@gmail.com.

Thank you! 🙂

Who Else is Making a Difference? | Challenge Day #1: Green Gasparilla


Hello everyone! I have taken it upon myself of recent to locate other local organizations dedicated to a similar cause of protecting and conserving the ocean. Thus I am starting a challenge series, in which each episode will contain an organization, most likely local, that is also trying to make a difference!

The series should be spaced with a fair amount of time in between posts, so this should be a smaller addition to the blog.

For our first day today, we are highlighting Green Gasparilla, headed by several members. For a more in depth look-in to Green Gasparilla’s mission, we meet Demetri Sedita, who kindly consented to speak on behalf of the organization.

Q: Demetri, for a simple start, would you let everyone know what Gasparilla is and how the event it affects the ocean?

A: Sure! Well, Gasparilla is a Tampa tradition that has been around for over 100 years. It’s a mock pirate invasion with a land parade and a water parade. Beads have been a part of Gasparilla since the beginning but recently (1995 -ish) people have been throwing beads in the water parade. They throw them from boat to boat, and to the people on shore. But most of the beads end up in the water and can poison the marine life.

Q: What are you doing to try to address the problem?

A: Well for the past 4 or 5 years my brother and I have been doing what we call “bead fishing”. We rig up a weighted treble hook and blindly cast it out into Seddon Channel, which is the main route for the water parade. We have now collected well over 100 pounds of beads and the process can be done year-round. Now we are arranging a diver clean up in September of this year to try to get the beads out of the channel. We are also trying to teach the general public about the dangers of these beads, which have been shown to contain high amounts of heavy metals.

Q: Wow! If you could talk to the public about one action they could do to help, what would it be?

A: Well, I would say that not participating in the water parade bead throwing is definitely a good step towards stoping the pollution, but participating in a post-Gasparilla clean up is the best way to help eliminate the impact that the beads and other parade related items have on the environment.

Q: Awesome! Currently, what event are you looking forward to that can help in your cause?

A: Well I’m personally looking forward to our clean up that we have planned for September to see how many beads we can pull up from the bottom of the channel with divers. Hopefully we will have a lot of volunteers diving and on kayaks helping to clean up the waterway.

Q: That’s amazing! Wrapping up, what has been your biggest achievement so far, in your opinion?

A: That’s a great question! I think that our biggest achievement so far has been that we have been on the news twice to talk about our cause and we have gotten a great response from the public because of that.

I would like to personally thank Green Gasparilla for their willingness to answer a couple questions on their cause. If you, like me, were inspired by what they are doing, please check out their social media platforms:

Weebly-Logo Website (via Weebly)

favicon_144-vflWmzoXw.png YouTube

images Twitter

49803d8eb5ea235a5860ac942caece70_download-png-download-eps-instagram-logo-clipart-png_1024-1024 Instagram: @greengasparilla

Cleanup: Lido Beach

Hey folks! This weekend I headed to our local Lido Beach, where I and representatives from various newborn organizations focused on cleaning up the beach! I found around two dozen cigarettes, and a variety of other plastic litter.

It’s very sad to see how people have treated the ocean and the beaches. As a result of a variety of factors, many cigarettes end up getting dumped on the beaches.

I have some footage taken from this event by myself and some of the Mote staff (thank you Ms. Cathy and Ms. Dana!), including an interview of why I was there.

One particular photo I took was of this cigarette in the sand that I found lying in some of the washed-up seagrass. Many of the cigarettes actually are about the seagrass itself.


However small the contribution, I was happy to venture out to try to make a difference! Through our actions, like taking care of our litter, we can have an effect.