Vote for the Ocean

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Frequently Asked Questions


  1. Information on Voice for the Ocean
    1. Who is Surfrider Foundation Europe?

Surfrider Foundation Europe is a European NGO dedicated to preserving the coastline and protecting marine environments. Through a variety of programs enriched with scientific and legal expertise, Surfrider’s efforts focus primarily on several environmental actions: improving water quality, raising global awareness, fighting aquatic waste pollution, and preserving the natural heritage of the coastline.    

    1. Voice for the Ocean, what is it?

Surfrider’s Voice for the Ocean is a campaign for the integration of ocean-related issues into the political agenda for the upcoming 2019 primary elections. The campaign urges political candidates to take the campaign’s results into consideration when building their 2019 political platforms.

Voice for the Ocean is a campaign organised in two phases:

-  Now until the end of 2018, Surfrider announces a Call To Action to participate in an EU-wide digital questionnaire addressing eight critical issues relating to the ocean. A five-country tour organized with local representatives will aid in campaign advocacy and promotion.

- From January 2019, Surfrider publically presents the results of the campaign and communicates citizens’ priorities to the political candidates.

    1. Why launch a European questionnaire?

Surfrider chooses to address the EU community as a whole because just as the oceans’ borders extend beyond national framework, as do the impacts of decisions concerning aquatic pollution, climate change, tourism and maritime transport. Voice for the Ocean poses questions on issues that affect all citizens across Europe and whom should therefore have a voice in the matter.

    1. How were topics chosen?

The topics chosen for the questionnaire address major economic, societal, and environmental issues that are in line with Surfrider’s focus:  marine pollution, ocean literacy, resource exploitation, and sustainable tourism and conservation. The issues addressed pose serious threats but have the ability to be improved by government actions.

e. What lobby actions will Surfrider carry out in 2019?

Surfrider will carefully analyse the results of Voice for the Ocean and categorize the priorities expressed by EU citizens. It will also examine the programmes of the European Parliament to assess their commitment to ocean protection. Surfrider will host meetings with primary candidates to communicate the environmental, social, and economic prioritizes of their constituents.


  1. Information on Voice for the Ocean European Tour
    1. What does the Tour consist of?

The Voice for the Ocean European tour is a traveling series of round table conversations, workshops and conferences involving the community leaders, scientific experts, and elected representatives of five different countries.

    1. Where does the Tour go?

- Burgas: June 1st – The European Maritime Days.

Surfrider representatives will deliver a speech inviting experts, researchers and representatives of the European Commission of Maritime Affairs (DG Mare) to discuss the ‘blue economy’ and maritime transport.

- Paris: June 5th – World Environment Day

Surfrider and UNESCO-COI will organize a workshop educating students on how individual actions can help make a difference in the fight against plastic pollution. Event will run 10:00am – 12:00pm.

- Malaga: October 1st and 2nd

Surfrider and IUCN (International Union for Conservation of Nature) will host an event discussing tourism and maritime transport. Conferences and round table conversations will take place over a two-day period. An Ocean Initiative beach collection is also planned during this event to raise awareness for marine pollution. 

- Brussels: October 15th  – European Chapter Days

During Surfrider Europe’s Annual Volunteer Meeting, discussions on a strategy for plastic production and waste control, as well as citizen mobilization will commence with key representatives from European institutions. A supplemental event will also take place among members of the European Parliament in order to raise awareness about plastic pollution.

- Porto: November 9th and 10th

This event site will be dedicated to issues of climate change, coastal impacts, and water quality. Specific event details are forthcoming.

    1. Is the event free?

All Voice for the Ocean European tour events are free. 

    1. Is the event open to the public?

Burgas, Paris, Malaga and Porto events are open to the public.

    1. What are starting and ending times?

Specific event logistics will be communicated in a subsequent programme.


  1. Information on Voice for the Ocean digital questionnaire
    1. How can I participate in Voice for the Ocean?

Participating in the campaign requires an Internet connection and about ten minutes time. To begin, simply go to http://surfrider.eu/vfto and choose one of the four profiles that best suits you.

    1. What will you do with my answers?

The results of the questionnaire will be analysed to identify participants’ main priorities and protective measures that received the greatest endorsement. These results will serve as a basis for Surfrider’s proposal to the European candidates.      

    1. Do the responses remain anonymous?  

No names will appear in the final proposal delivered to the candidates. For research purposes, participant data including country of residence, socio-professional category, and age will be collected.

    1. How will the results be analysed?

The results will be tallied and mapped to highlight prominent items that should be advanced to European legislation.

    1. When will Voice for the Ocean close?

Questionnaire entries will be accepted until December 14th, 2018. The website will remain live until the end of the campaign in May 2019. Once answers are recorded, a presentation of the questionnaire results will be available to view on the website. 

    1. What will become of my collected data?

Surfrider will protect the data in confidence. Your data will, under no circumstances, be transmitted to third parties.

    1. Is there an age limit to participate?

The questionnaire is intended primarily for citizens with the ability to vote in 2019, but all are welcome to participate.