Home > About Us > Press & News > Press Releases > 15/05/2016 – Mark Berman – Obituary

To All Our Friends:

We sadly write to inform you that our friend and colleague Mark Berman died on May 13th. We are all devastated by the news.  Mark Berman had been an integral part of our Earth Island and IMMP family for more than 25 years, and we will all sorely miss his friendship and dedication.

As you know, Mark had dedicated his li8C878B72-86A2-4835-8A20-CB5E0228154Efe to helping whales and dolphins, and elephants and sharks as well, with particular emphasis on opposing captivity for these wonderful animals.  He succeeded in many important victories for marine mammals such as his legislation in South Carolina banning all captivity for dolphins, his successful efforts to block imports of live exotic dolphins into the US, and his numerous demonstrations against captivity all around the US and the world, leading to closures of captive facilities and scrapping of plans for new ones.

Mark’s intense work ethic, numerous phone calls, and dogged determination led to his nickname of “The Bermanator”, a title that made him smile.

Without Mark, we never would have taken on the historic Keiko effort.  He was part of every facet of Keiko’s odyssey from Mexico to Oregon to Iceland to Norway.  He had still been sending out Keiko packets to children up to his last days.

Mark also worked closely with Lawrence Makili in the Solomon Islands to negotiate a successful end to the dolphin hunts. Lawrence continues to make progress there in spite of numerous challenges.

Mark also served as Director of our International Dolphin Safe Tuna Monitoring Program, ensuring tuna was caught without harm to dolphins.  He traveled tirelessly, especially in Asia, to monitor canneries, and oversee our monitoring in other parts of the globe.  He appeared regularly at tuna conferences and fish marketing events, persuading companies to become Dolphin Safe.  Under his watch, our Dolphin Safe Program has grown to more than 550 tuna companies around the world, all pledged to fish for tuna in ways that do not harm dolphins.

We will be putting together an event in Berkeley to celebrate Mark’s life, so stay tuned for that announcement.  Thanks so much to all of you who are already sending in reflections and tributes.  We welcome your submission of photos, memories, and stories about Mark that we can share.  Please send to laurab@earthisland.org .

Our hearts go out to Mark’s family, his sons Bennett and Nat, former wife Yowadee, and two sisters Ellen and Lynn. Mark will be dearly missed by us all. And thanks for all your efforts to keep Mark’s spirit alive and his life’s work moving ahead.