Dos Winkel - Beautiful Photography Illustrates Oceans’ Plight

By Belgium News Group (Originally in Dutch) 2009.02.03

The beautiful photos of Dos Winkel of the Netherlands, a lifelong vegetarian, advocate of protecting sea life, and one of the world’s most renowned underwater photographers, graphically record the current state of our oceans. Over the past 25 years, Mr. Winkel has gone diving in many corners of the world and noticed a decline in countless species of coral, fish, and sea turtles.

“Our Earth is warming,” he stated during an interview with Supreme Master TV. “That in turn is very bad for the coral reefs. In fact, in this period, I’ve been consciously experiencing, as an underwater photographer and diver, the coral reefs deteriorated from 75% perfect health, all the way down to 16%.” He further pointed out that, “because of enormous excess fishing, because of the disappearance of mangroves, because of the colossal catches by enormous illegal fisheries, sometimes up to 90%, with those nets dragging across the bottom of the sea, the fish population around the world has drastically diminished. We now have between 75% to 80% less fish in our oceans than 30 to 40 years ago. That’s also unimaginable.”

He reminded people that fish have an excellent peripheral nervous system, with notion sensors, which means they can feel severe pain, fear, and stress. However, they are often just thrown aside and die an extremely painful and slow death. He explained that eating fish causes health problems to humans because of the toxins consumed by the fish, such as heavy metals, mercury, cadmium, lead, dioxins, PCBs, as well as the fire retardants and tens of thousands of other substances that have been dumped into the sea.

Mr. Winkel’s concern led him to write the book What's the Catch with Fish, and Fish Oil?  addressing the horrific tolls of fishing, questioning worldwide practices such as industrial fishing, replacing valuable mangrove forests with shrimp farms, and killing sharks for their fins. The book also suggests beneficial, plant-based sources for Omega 3 fatty acids instead of harmful fish oil. The publication has been given to a number of European politicians with fisheries in their stock portfolios, leading to parliamentary debates in Holland and Belgium.

Mr. Winkel has a clear message for the world which is: “We have to save the seas. That can be done in one way, and that’s to stop fishing, and especially to stop eating fish. Most assuredly, there are a lot of benefits to vegetarianism. But besides all its ethical advantages, it does a lot of good for this Earth; you make your ecological footprint much smaller and that is important to be able to survive.” After Mr. Winkel’s lectures, people often tell him that they plan to change their eating habits.

To recognize Mr. Winkel’s beneficial work, on February 3, Golden Year 6 (2009), Belgian initiates presented him with the Shining World Hero Award, graciously given by our beloved Supreme Master Ching Hai, along with a check for €30,000. Mr. Winkel accepted the Award and fund as well as a Hero T-shirt and several of Master’s publications with great joy, saying that it is an extra encouragement for him to continue and that the money will go toward a documentary entitled, “SEA the TRUTH,” which will address the oceans’ problems. Master had thus made it possible for him to work with world-renowned producer and filmmaker Kevin Augello. With deep respect, Mr. Winkel thanked Master for everything She is doing for this planet and especially for the animals.

Our sincere appreciation, Mr. Winkel, for your laudable efforts to help preserve our incredible oceans. Wishing you all of Heaven’s blessings and many fruitful outcomes in your courageous work of love and compassion. We hope that with the wise cooperation of the leaders and co-citizens of our planet, we can bring back the pristine beauty of our seas.