Goodbye Seba Sheavly, tireless advocate for the marine environment

It was a with a saddened heart that I learnt of Seba Sheavly’s passing from Ocean Conservancy’s Sonya Besteiro.

sebaSeba Sheavly and Jean Michel Cousteau
Thanks to Annie Crawley for use of the photo

Sonya had corresponded with international organisers as staff of the Centre for Marine Conservation from the 90’s (see this CNN interview from 1999).

CMC later became the Ocean Conservancy and continues to coordinate the International Coastal Cleanup. Meanwhile, as founder of Sheavly Consultants, Seba remained involved and contributed to several papers on marine debris.

John B. Davis, President of the Marine Affairs Research and Education (MARE), USA wrote (04 Jun 2012):

“Dear MarineDebris.Info community,

I’m writing with the sad news that Seba Sheavly, a leader in the marine debris field for two decades, passed away last Thursday after a long battle with cancer and lung disease. She was a keystone figure in our community.

Seba worked tirelessly as a marine environmental advocate. She edited or contributed to most of the major marine debris-related reports of recent years, including ones from UNEP, UNESCO, GESAMP, US EPA, and the National Academy of Sciences.

As principal of Sheavly Consultants, she provided advisory services to multiple institutions: the European Commission, Project AWARE Foundation, NOAA Marine Debris, Ocean Conservancy, Blue Ocean Sciences, SEA/WHOI, Project Kaisei, Clean Virginia Waterways, and many more. In her final days, Seba was developing an online education tool on marine debris in the Caribbean.

I met Seba in person at last year’s International Marine Debris Conference, an event that she was instrumental in convening despite her illness at the time. What impressed me most was her willingness to work behind the scenes to get things done, without asking for personal accolades.

A scholarship fund is being established in Seba’s honor. Guidance on donating will be posted soon.

Best wishes,

I thought I’d remember the passing of this tireless warrior for the marine environment by suggesting we read (or re-read) her 2010 “Lessons Learnt” report prepared for the EPA:

I think she’d like that.

RIP Seba.

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