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Send your questions for Ted Danson

September 16th, 2009
09:35 PM ET

Ted Danson has been one of the most-high profile TV fixtures of the last quarter century.

[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/images/09/17/art.ted.danson.getty.jpg caption="Actor Ted Danson has added his voice to those campaigning against over-fishing."] He first found global fame with wise-cracking Boston bartender Sam Malone in the comedy series "Cheers," which earned him both Emmy and Golden Globe recognition.

More recently he has shown his range in projects as varied as legal drama "Damages" and biting satire "Curb Your Enthusiasm" among many others.

Away from work Danson has committed his time to the American Oceans Campaign which he co-founded in 1987, leading the charge to protect the world’s water environments and prevent over-fishing from wrecking marine habitats.

On Thursday Danson joins CTW to talk about the over-fishing crisis that now faces Earth, as well as highlighting "The End of The Line," a documentary he has narrated that highlights the dangers man now poses to his aquatic neighbors.

Post your questions to Danson below — and tell us just how far you would go for a cause you feel passionate about.

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Filed under:  General
soundoff (22 Responses)
  1. Harald Grasdahl

    How could we stop the over-fishing? I see no government willing to address this issue, due to jobs and settlements along the coasts (especially here in Norway)...
    The Government of Norway does also support the killing of 1000 whales each year...Pity isn´t it?...


    September 16, 2009 at 10:59 pm | Reply
  2. l.massie

    Mr. Danson,
    You have perhaps picked the most important issue of the 21st century. Given the increasing demand for open ocean fish and the likelihood that only western countries will abide by any future ( international waters ) controls, what solution do you propose that has any chance of making an impact?

    September 16, 2009 at 11:39 pm | Reply
  3. lou elmtrees

    It´s sad how we´re killing the oceans and life on earth itself and see how little if nothing is done about it. How do we know you´ll make a difference? What are you doing specifically to revert the situation? loved your acting in Cheers, I am a fan of yours. greetings!

    September 17, 2009 at 12:39 am | Reply
  4. Kate Weaver

    On the documentary Shark Water, Rob Stewart talks about the "Taiwanese mafia" that controls the waters around the Galapagos Islands of Ecuador and the Cocos Islands of Costa Rica. Stewart showed evidence of this group's control of governments in charge of these waters. What is known about this shark-finning group and is anyone confronting this issue? I read that the Galapagos Foundation Trust (http://www.gct.org/shark07.html) is stepping up efforts to stop shark finning. However, I'm wondering how effective these efforts are against the wealth and resources of the shark-finning industry.

    September 17, 2009 at 2:14 am | Reply
  5. Ken K


    I have always admired Ted Danson for his work on raising ocean conservation issues. Thanks very much for having him on.

    Please ask him what impacts climate change will have on fisheries and fish production in US waters over the next 20+ years and are law makers and fisheries managers doing enough to plan for this potential impacts.

    With sea level rise and changing erosional patterns on coasts, many estuarine habitats of juvenile fish species will change. Changing rainfall patterns will exasperate this. Plus, changes in currents and circulation patterns will also change fisheries management.

    How far would I go? I have been working on marine conservation issues for 12 years and moved from Alabama to Washington DC to Fiji and now Borneo (Malaysia) to contribute just a little bit.


    September 17, 2009 at 3:39 am | Reply
  6. Thad Maloney

    Ask Ted about how he feels about sport fishing vs commercial fishing. Sport fishing is often catch and release and generates lot of revenue relative to the amount of fish taken. But some activities like shark fishing and even big game fishing are questionable.

    Also ask Ted about the very contraversiol practice of fish farming, where large amounts of ground fish protein are needed for the farmed fish food. Is that really the future?

    September 17, 2009 at 5:12 am | Reply
  7. Arik Diamant

    As the global demand for fish grows (general population growth, east asian economy growth, fish as healthy protein source) and fishery supplies decline, the only answer is not only to lobby against overfishing, but also to push for serious government support efforts to develop marine fish species in aquaculture, to be cultured in an environmentally sustainable way. Fighting overfishing – which is surely a noble cause – is not enough. It must come alongside attempts to provide an alternative, because fish demand will surely continue to grow. What do YOU think about the prospects of marine aquaculture research and development in the US and elsewhere?

    September 17, 2009 at 5:38 am | Reply
  8. Avishai

    How can fisheries be managed sustainably when no-one owns the resource? (the so-called "tragedy of the commons problem"). Given the relatively short-term of fishing vessels/companies, it is not in their interest to practise sustainabile harvest. A radically new approach needs to be taken – my suggestion is ownership e.g. the abalone fisheries of southern australia, where ownership of the fisheries for a long-term is leased to individual/organizations for a section of the coast

    September 17, 2009 at 5:55 am | Reply
  9. Burton

    As a fly-fisherman, I always practice catch-and-release with barbless hooks. Fly-fishing is growing in popularity, and the promoting of catch-and-release methods will only help to ensure this is maintained, and not abused as course fishing has become.
    A fly-fisherman in there for the experience, to be one with nature.
    A coarse fisherman is there to kill and eat the fish he/she catches.
    Question to Ted: How will you integrate fly-fishing to your cause?

    September 17, 2009 at 6:43 am | Reply
  10. youwai yap

    It's a commendable effort but really it's such a difficult task. People need to survive so they go fishing, either on a big scale (like the reported McD's FilletOFish's hoki which is being fished industrial scale) or on a small scale (e.g those individuals fishermen who need a catch to survive a day). I come into this late (but better than never) and I guess the most important thing to do is Education. E.g. we need to educate those fishermen in places like Indonesia or the Philipines not to do fish bombing (which destroys coral etc).

    Then we need the Support of the big guys esp. the governments to carry out real enforcement and also to fund or at least to organize the Education. The big guys like McD's must also do real CSR, not just lips-servicing.

    I'm looking forward to real efforts being carried out. I'd like to help in any possible ways. Will somebody please lead the way? Ted Danson?

    September 17, 2009 at 10:36 am | Reply
  11. Doug

    Mr. Danson is to be commended for lending his voice and popularity to an issue that should be explored by policy makers. Sam Malone and Dr. Becker would be proud to be associated with him. But beyond being someone to whom attention will be paid while speaking on behalf of any issue, what credentials does Mr. Danson have in the area of commercial fishing, or macroeconomics, or public policy? Has he studied the effects of what would happen if fishing were to go on unchecked as well as what would happen if this valuable food source were cut off? Has his research been published in any scientific, peer-reviewed journal? I put it to the people loudly participating in this discussion and others like it to offer feasible and equitable solutions to the problems upon which they are focused.

    Now, let’s explore this issue, we have an expanding human population on the earth putting increasing demand on the natural recourses. Natural resources are showing signs of stress and reserves are beginning to show noticeable decline. Is this not the issue? Over-fishing, over-harvesting of trees, over-grazing of cattle, etc are all examples of stressing the environment.

    How many of the people participating in this debate on over fishing remember junior high school biology class where we studied the ecosystem? Remember the term "carrying capacity”? Carrying Capacity means that in order for an ecosystem to survive, there is a finite number of consumer organisms that can live on the food source available. If you upset this balance by increasing the number of consumer organisms without increasing the food supply, the whole system collapses and all the organisms die.

    I put it to the scientific community, the public policy makers, the environmentalists, etc to determine if we have reached the carrying capacity of the earth. Now determine whether and how to reduce the human population. Who gets food and who does not? War and disease used to keep the human population in check but in the last 60 years, we have become afraid of death and want to live long and healthy lives. The result is that by reducing the death rate and increasing, or at least maintaining, the birth rate, we are over-taxing the ecosystem.

    Now, lest anybody reading this think that I am little more than a raker of muck, I hold degrees in mechanical engineering and environmental engineering. I am licensed as a civil engineer in several states in the US. My career has been spent designing and building water and sewage treatment plants. I have been able to provide clean, safe drinking water to communities that did not have it. I have been able to reduce the level of pollutants discharged back into the environment after that water has been used. Thanks to projects in which I, and many other dedicated professionals, have been involved, portions of the Chesapeake Bay and numerous small streams in the northeast US now run clean and can be fished by children without fear of exposure to toxins.

    Mr. Danson, if you can get governments to change their policies regarding over-fishing and degrading the environment, I applaud you. But be mindful, every action taken or not taken will have unintended consequences and these need to be explored to determine whether the “do nothing” option may not be the best after all.

    September 17, 2009 at 12:14 pm | Reply
  12. Brad P.

    There can be no short term solution to over-fishing, so my question is "what can you do about having specific, off-limit spawing areas, in the oceans, protected from all form of fishing?" Major resources are needed and funding will be an issue. How do I contribute !!

    September 17, 2009 at 12:19 pm | Reply
  13. Fan

    Now, what would Becker do in such a situation?

    September 17, 2009 at 2:45 pm | Reply
  14. Jim Polosckov

    Mr Danson was a fantastic actor and is now exemplifying the amazing capacity of deceased celebrities to have a real say in crucial social issues from beyond the grave! RIP

    September 17, 2009 at 3:02 pm | Reply
  15. BaffaMustapha

    how are you trying to convince other world leaders (well known personalities) who are willing to enforce strong legislations againts this act.

    September 17, 2009 at 3:13 pm | Reply
  16. Karen

    There are already many laws to protect our oceans, but no government is stepping up to enforce them. Look at Sea Shepherd for instance, they are taking on the Japanese Whalers who hide behind the loopholes of the IWC, which we all know they are using it for a free for all to slaughter whales in a Whale Sanctuary. Why isn't the US military getting involved surely they could drive them out if they wanted. Why aren't we supporting Paul Watson and his crew instead of calling him an ecoterrorist, he's merely trying to save our oceans for future generations. Fisheries are collapsing all over the world if our oceans die – we die.

    September 17, 2009 at 3:53 pm | Reply
  17. shep shepard

    mmmm.......sushi......how ya' going to stop the upscale Hollywood types from eating their weekly "allowance" of sushi? There are more sushi bars in Hollywood than McDonalds. Perhaps Mr. Danson should start with his colleagues.

    September 17, 2009 at 5:43 pm | Reply
  18. anna

    Do you think that this film has the same impact on people especially politicans, as the film of Al Gore, the inconvenient truth?

    September 17, 2009 at 5:57 pm | Reply
  19. SS

    Mr. Danson: thanks for raising awareness about this important issue.

    But, do you "walk the walk" or is it just talk?

    Do you eat fish? Does your family?

    Do you serve it at parties and order it at restaurants (raising its profile as a supposedly upscale and desirable food)?


    September 17, 2009 at 7:39 pm | Reply
  20. Norma

    I saw Ted Danson win the International SeaKeepers Awards a couple of years ago – he was then, and is still a true leader, and an inspiration to those who share his concerns over the sad state of the worlds oceans. Go Ted Danson and Oceana!

    September 17, 2009 at 8:44 pm | Reply
  21. Max Ryerson

    Hi Ted,

    We worked together on Becker a number of years ago now and by chance I came across your chat with Becky on CTW – unfortunately I was too slow to get any questions in before it was over.

    What I found interesting about what you said was that government are subsidizing the fishing industries to the tune of $20Billion and that we are now faced with a serious problem of over fishing and extreme pollution of the oceans. Does the over fishing result in massive waste of fish? Or is all the fish that is brought back to shore and sold across the world in fish mongers and supermarkets actually consumed?

    What a tragedy to think that tax payers are not only paying for the destruction of the world’s fish populations but that we don’t even consume all that is fished. It would be interesting to know how much is actually wasted.



    September 17, 2009 at 9:01 pm | Reply
  22. Melinda Jones

    I admire your efforts in saving our wildlife and habitat in our oceans. We all should do what we can to save the fish, whales and our environment. Should we quit eating fish from fast food restaurants? What other ways can we help ? Are there fish farms that raise fish for restaurants? Thank you for helping save our natural resources.

    September 17, 2009 at 9:17 pm | Reply

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