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Photography by Dan Cohen

By Vanessa Showalter

Oceana supporters from around the Southland sipped champagne while overlooking the breathtaking views of the Pacific Ocean – solidifying the very reason why they were there in the first place – to help protect our oceans. Since its inception in 2001, this star-studded event has raised nearly $6 million.

This past Sunday, more than 400 celebrities and guests attended Oceana’s 5th Anniversary of the annual SeaChange Summer Party located at an exquisite private villa in Laguna Beach, Calif.  The money raised at this benefit will help protect our oceans, stop ocean pollution with the goal of promoting responsible fishing.

One of Oceana’s veteran supporters is actor Ted Danson, who has been supporting this non-profit organization for more than 25 years and is currently on the Board of Directors.

“We are all here this evening to help support Oceana – an amazing organization that promotes sustainable practices,” said Danson.  “Oceana is about feeding the world.  If properly tended to, our oceans can provide a nutritious meal every day for 700 million people.  We just need to stop destroying our marine life and its habitats.”

Guests enjoyed a sit-down dinner with a special live performance by singer/actress Renee Olstead.  In addition, this year’s event celebrated Ocean Champions, Michael and Tricia Berns for their extraordinary support.

In addition to Danson, the event, which was emceed by Oceana Senior Advisor Alexandra Cousteau, featured appearances by Morgan Freeman, Jeff Goldblum, Aimee Teegarden, Dennis Haysbert and Sarah Shahi. Other celebrities in attendance included: Rachael Harris, Bella Thorne, Beverly D’Angelo, Ed Begley Jr., Jenna Ushkowitz, Renee Olstead, Steve Howey and Graham Phillips.

Freeman, who has been sailing on the high seas since 1967, has been involved in the Oceana organization for more than four years.

“The damage to our ocean is reversal,” said Freeman.  “Our primary tactic right now is to educate, educate, educate.  “We need to stop damaging our reefs around the world, stop dumping garbage into our oceans and start protecting.”

This year’s event featured an expansive array of auction items such as a 2012 Fisker Karma electric sports car with Eco Trim, signed by Henrik Fisker, and a one week private charter to the Caribbean on the world’s largest Catamaran “The Hemisphere.”

How can you help?  Become a Wavemaker or adopt a creature.  www.oceana.org