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Who We Are

Who We Are

history Kurt hauling trap 600xOcean Defenders Alliance (ODA) fills a huge void in the world of marine conservation by taking on the role of “cleanup crew” for the seas. We don’t just talk about the need for clean oceans—we physically go out and make it happen!

Our Founder, Kurt Lieber, is an avid diver and underwater photographer, and while enjoying recreational dives recognized through his own experiences the need for this important work. Although a mechanical engineer by trade, Kurt’s passion has always been the health of marine wildlife and their habitats. On dives all over the world, he saw human trash and commercial fishing gear that had been discarded…often wrapped around beautiful reefs, trapping and killing helpless marine life in an endless cycle.

The more he learned, the more Kurt felt a compelling urgency to "dive in" and help the ecosystem survive this onslaught of man-made debris and pollution. So, in 2000, he took action by informally creating Ocean Defenders Alliance (ODA), and in 2002 formally registered ODA as a nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization.

Since then, Kurt’s leadership and vision has translated into tangible results for ocean life: hundreds of volunteer divers have removed tons of deadly man-made debris, presentations have helped educate thousands of school children, business/civic groups, and dive club members, and the “Alliance” of concerned citizens and organizations is growing.   [To read his personal story, visit our Founder’s page].

While others are talking, ODA is “diving in” to save lives as often as our resources permit.

To date, ODA has completed hundreds of results-oriented excursions, but there is still a lot of work to be done.

Read about the work we are doing now to clean our oceans!

Kurt Lieber and Paul WatsonKurt Lieber with Paul Watson, founder of Sea Shepherd