Oceana Honors Wavemakers at 2022 Annual General Meeting
Chef Sean Kuylen honored as Oceana’s 2022 National Wavemaker of the Year
Press Release Date: October 24, 2022
Location: Belize City, Belize
Belize City, Belize – Oceana wavemakers from across the country participated in Oceana’s 2022 Annual General Meeting (AGM) held at the Saint Catherine Academy Multi-purpose Mercy Center on Saturday, October 22nd in Belize City. Over 200 hundred wavemakers from the Corozal, Orange Walk, Belize, Cayo, Stann Creek and Toledo districts, as well as from Caye Caulker and Ambergris Caye, attended the annual event.
During the AGM, several wavemakers were recognized for their sensational support for Oceana’s campaigns and initiatives over the past year. The 2022 awardees are Gival Marin from Corozal; Manuel Novelo from Orange Walk; Marci Mejia from Belize City; the Interact Club of Sacred Heart College in Cayo; Ethan Velasquez from Stann Creek, and Yesenia Figueroa from Toledo. Oceana also proudly recognized the Scout Association of Belize with its first ever Partner of the Year Award, and Chef Sean Kuylen as the 2022 National Wavemaker of the Year.
Born in Corozal and raised in Belize’s ‘Kulcha Capital’ – Dangriga, Chef Sean Kuylen’s passion and commitment for Belize’s marine resources has always taken center stage. Sean has the distinction of being one of Oceana’s very first influencers. From the kitchen, he helped to protest offshore oil drilling in Belize, at the riverside he spoke to fishers about the negative impacts of destructive fishing gear and online, he’s educated over 13,000 followers about the importance of reducing plastic pollution. Sean was also vital in conceptualizing the Fish Right Eat Right initiative, along with Chefs like Jennie Staines. They saw the need to educate local chefs and consumers on the fisheries regulations, and to recognize and incentivize restauranteurs to support fisherfolk who abide by the laws and uphold best practices in sustainability. In a recent interview, Sean shared that he’s always thrilled to witness our little Belize taking on big roles in the kinds of policies the world needs right now such as the ban on gillnets, single-use plastics and of course, the moratorium on offshore oil. He believes these are the kinds of laws that show that Belize is “making a conscious effort to conserve the environment and use resources sustainably.”
This year’s guest speakers were Mr. Daril Avila and Ms. Dominique Noralez of the Young Leaders Alliance of Belize (YLAB), both of whom emphasized the critical importance of youth participation in the decision-making processes that will determine their inheritance, the quality of their lives as determined by the integrity of our natural resources.
Daril is the National Coordinator for the Caribbean Youth Environment Network (CYEN) – Belize Chapter and works along with youth based-based initiatives which promote leadership and participation in his community. During his presentation, Avila highlighted the need to protect our natural resources, to be aware of the threats we are facing as a country due to the climate crisis, and how the youth can play a vital role integrating themselves, through sustainable development and climate action strategies on national and regional levels.
Dominique is the Caribbean Regional Representative for the Commonwealth Youth Council, and has a fervent passion for social policy surrounding the politics of feminism, Blackness, environmental protection, and youth development. In her virtual presentation, she called on wavemakers to “practice the political ideology of ‘to love and protect’, with the things that are personal – the air you breathe, the water you drink, the food you eat, the place you live, and the people with whom we share an identity.” Noralez further stated “Little by little you will discover, and with conviction, that you make up an intricate part of the ebb and flow of Belize’s social, economic, cultural, and political tide.”
Oceana in Belize’s dedicated wavemakers countrywide are an essential pillar of our advocacy. We are proud to stand alongside Belizeans who are always ready and willing to speak up for our precious marine environment. Belizean supporters are among the more than a million Oceana Wavemakers from across the globe who support the protection and restoration of the world’s oceans.
Note to Editors:
The National Wavemaker Award was made by local artist, Aesha Garel of Zest Handcrafted.
To see the images of this year’s awardees and event, click here.
Oceana is the largest international advocacy group working solely to protect the world’s oceans. Oceana wins policy victories for the oceans using science-based campaigns. Since 2001, we have protected nearly 4 million square miles of ocean and innumerable sea turtles, sharks, dolphins and other sea creatures. More than 600,000 supporters have already joined Oceana. Global in scope, Oceana has offices in Asia, North, South and Central America, and Europe. To learn more, please visit www.oceana.org.