Coastal Sustainability Institute > Education > Advocating for conservation through undersea photography

Advocating for conservation through undersea photography

Growing up in Connecticut, Tim Briggs, S’19, visited the rocky shores of Massachusetts every summer and was fascinated by the creatures living among the rocks. He got certified to dive at age 12 and, since then, has made more than 100 dives. He also developed a passion for undersea photography, and completed Northeastern’s Three Seas Program, where he received training in underwater research methods while living and studying in three seaside locations.  

Briggs’ goal as a conservationist and visual storyteller is to get people to see—and value—what’s beneath the waves. In 2017, his photos made him one of 15 winners worldwide of #ThisFirst, a competition sponsored by the skate, surf, and snowboarding apparel company Volcom. The $5,000 prize helped Briggs, who is majoring in marine biology and minoring in photography, visit and photograph areas where marine life is still abundant.

There is reason to be optimistic about the future of the ocean, despite threats such as overfishing, plastic pollution, and climate change, Briggs says. “Overfishing is a symptom of poor management and regulations that don’t work for either fishermen or fish. Plastics can be stopped at the source. Coastal development can be done sustainably to protect reefs and other habitats of the fish we eat. Renewable energies and technology show promise for slowing climate change. … These are all solvable problems.”

For example, Briggs recently met a fisherman in La Paz, Mexico, where a scallop fishery had recovered from 80,000 scallops to 4.3 million in just five years because of a voluntary fishing ban. “Soon, scallop fishing will resume there at a rate that guarantees future harvests,” he says.

Author: CSI Staff