2016 Hero of the Seas
Serge Dedina is the Mayor of Imperial Beach California and the Executive Director and co-founder of Wildcoast/ COSTASALVAjE, an international organization based in the border town of Imperial that set out to protect some of the most beautiful and biologically significant coastal areas in southern California and Latin America. Since 2000 Wildcoast has worked to conserve coastal and marine ecosystems and wildlife on both sides of the U.S./Mexican border. Mayor Dedina has been instrumental in the development of two national parks along Baja’s Sea of Cortez and a research and educational center in Magdalena Bay. Dedina is the author of Wild Sea: Eco-Wars and Surf Stories from the Coast of the California and ‘Surfing the Border’ and has initiated an international campaign that successfully stopped a multinational corporation from destroying the San Ignacio Lagoon - the world’s last undeveloped gray whale lagoon. In addition he launched a “Clean Water Now” campaign along the border that led to the construction of a new sewage treatment plant on the U.S. side of the border in the Tijuana River Valley. He is currently leading an effort to preserve Baja’s central Pacific coastline, a project that has resulted in the conservation of close to 20 miles (32 km) of pristine coastline to date. A strong supporter of ongoing bilateral dialogues between US and Mexican state, federal, and local governments, the Mayor believes that communicating ‘values’—and not just facts—is critical to reaching broader audiences that are necessary for lasting ocean conservation victories. Mayor Dedina has a PhD in Geography from the University of Texas, was elected to office in 2014.