Stories Lived

Ocean Defenders Alliance: Saving Marine Life **Past Enviro Runner-up**

Ocean Defenders Alliance (ODA) is a marine conservation organization that became a registered 501(c)(3) nonprofit in 2002.

The organization was founded by Kurt Lieber, an avid diver and self-made scholar of marine conservation news and information.

On dive after dive, and all over the world, Kurt found abandoned commercial fishing gear on the ocean floor or attached to boat wrecks—where it indiscriminately kills marine flora and fauna long after its service to the fishing industry was over.

At the same time, in his studies of the state of the world’s oceans, Kurt read widely diverse reports about the oceans, and came to understand the dire plight of life in the seas.

His heart told him to take action, and his intellect agreed completely.

So, with a 40-foot boat generously gifted to ODA by Sea Shepherd Conservation Society, Kurt began taking volunteer divers to reported abandoned fishing gear sites.

Using the boat as a dive platform, the divers descend at each location, cut the gear loose, and float it to the surface. Volunteers on the boat haul it onto the deck and take it back to shore for proper disposal.

Animals such as lobsters, crabs, and fish found trapped alive are carefully liberated by ODA, and thus given a new chance to thrive, grow, and breed.

Working for a Debris-Free Sea

Fundraising for Nonprofits


About the Filmmaker
Submitted by George Alger

George Alger is a long-time advocate for nonprofits in addition to a video, documentary and local TV producer.

Filmmaker’s Website:


  1. Thank you for helping save so very many species from their underwater Graves. I have so much respect for you folks!

  2. Kurt Lieber is true conservationist, not a self-aggrandizing cult leader raising millions in tribute. Hats off to him and crew for making a difference and for using donations on the cause intended.

  3. This is one amazing group. They do so much for so many and really need our help. Thank you for your wonderful lifesaving hard work!

  4. Solutions to ecological problems rather than just protests and rhetoric, that is the ODA way!!!
    That is why I have been a proud ODA volunteer and supporter since the very beginning. This is a world wide problem and ODA shows people around the world that though this is a really tough problem to solve, if you take it to heart and dive right in YOU can make a difference. Sylvia Earle said it best,

    “Who can we turn to and what can we do to save the sea? Hold up a mirror and find your own strength and apply it.”

    And I can tell you from personal experience that if you do that you will be more satisfied with your life. I am very grateful to Kurt for giving me such a positive channel for my efforts.

    John Milligan ODA volunteer and supporter.

    P.S. you don’t have to be a diver, I’m not. ODA needs all sorts of help.