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Saying Goodbye to Our Friend Mark Berman

| By David Phillips, Director, IMMP
Topics: Captivity Industry, Dolphins, Tuna Industry

On Sunday, July 10th, nearly one hundred supporters of the International Marine Mammal Project (IMMP) and special friends of Mark Berman joined together for a celebration of Mark’s life and his efforts to protect dolphins and whales for more than 25 years with IMMP.  Mark recently died unexpectedly of complications from surgery.

Mark Berman was a key staff member in efforts to save Keiko, the whale star of Free Willy, opposition to keeping dolphins and whales in captivity, and development of our Dolphin Safe Tuna International Monitoring Program to prevent the deaths of tens of thousands of dolphins in tuna nets.

Speakers included myself; Dr. Paul Spong of Orcalab; Dr. Naomi Rose of the Animal Welfare Institute; Dr. Paolo Bray of IMMP’s Dolphin Safe Monitoring Program; Mark’s family members Ellen Ulrich, Lynn Judges, and Alexis Galbraith; Mac Hawley of Hawley Family Foundation; Ed Stewart, Co-Founder and Executive Director, Performing Animal Welfare Society; Walter Anzer of IMMP’s European Dolphin Safe Tuna Monitoring Organization; and along with several videos prepared by Mark’s friends and colleagues.

Mark’s friends and longtime colleagues came from around the world to share videos, stories and tributes.

Many expressed how moved they were by Mark’s work, his friendship, and how he had recruited them to get involved in animal protection work.

Mark Berman will be missed for his energy, commitment and dedication.  Our collective remembrance will help light the way for our future work to save dolphins, whales and their ocean habitats.

Mark Ira Berman, doing what he did best.

We’d like to thank the following event volunteers: Aubrey Hills, Maureen Mitra, Sharon Tamm, Ginny Palmer, Jessica Ji, Michael Reppy, Sharon Negri, Erin Palmerston, Maya Washington, Richard Tamm and Linda Appleby.

Many generous donors supplied the food and drink for our event, including:  Gather Restaurant, Miyoko’s Kitchen, Cheese Board Collective, Frey Vineyards, Star Route Farm, Devoto Gardens, Cypress Flower Farm, Rising Star Orchards, Ginny Palmer, Capay Organic and Strauss Family Creamery.

Our deepest thanks to the speakers, sponsors, volunteers, and participants who made the celebration such a moving and successful tribute to Mark.

Dr. Paul Spong of Orcalab sharing memories about Mark. Mark J. Palmer / International Marine Mammal Project.

Celebration of Mark's life at the David Brower Center in Berkeley. Mark J. Palmer / International Marine Mammal Project

David Phillips remembering his friendship with Mark. Mark J. Palmer / International Marine Mammal Project.

Ed Stewart, director of PAWS, speaking at Mark's celebration of life. Mark J. Palmer / International Marine Mammal Project.