If you haven't already heard, all of us at Oceana have some big news to share with you. Bloomberg Philanthropies is donating $53 million over five years to help us restore fisheries in three of the world’s largest fishing nations: Brazil, Chile, and the Philippines. Today, Oceana CEO Andy Sharpless partnered with board member Ted Danson to spread the good news in an editorial for the Huffington Post, which we'd like to share with you now...
Bloomberg to Help Save the Oceans and Feed the World
By Ted Danson and Andrew Sharpless
It’s not often that someone can make a philanthropic investment that simultaneously fights climate change, biodiversity loss, and world hunger. But Michael Bloomberg is doing just that.
The former New York City mayor is donating $53 million over five years to help Oceana rebuild ocean abundance in three of the world’s largest fishing nations: Brazil, Chile, and the Philippines. Bloomberg’s Vibrant Oceans Initiative is the largest philanthropic commitment to reform fisheries management on an international scale.
In partnership with Rare and EKO Asset Management, Oceana will work to restore fish populations and meet the dietary needs of the growing world. This is the first approach to simultaneously focus on making both industrial and local fishing more sustainable. Oceana will advocate for national policies that help reform industrial fishing, like setting and enforcing science-based quotas, reducing bycatch, and protecting critical habitat. Rare will aid artisanal fishermen by working with coastal communities to create exclusive fishing rights for local fishers, along with the creating and strengthening protected areas. The grant also supports EKO Asset Management, who will develop investment blueprints that bring private capital to financially reward small-scale fishers and industrial fleets as they transition to better management.
Rebuilding fish populations will save the oceans and feed the world. Earth’s human population is expected to pass a staggering 9 billion people by 2050. Although this is a 30 percent increase in population, the World Bank has predicted that global demand for meat could increase by as much as 85 percent by 2030, as more and more people pursue a meat-heavy western diet. And, 1 billion people on this planet are already hungry. With the arable land and fresh water needed to graze and water livestock already in short supply—we need other alternatives. Fortunately, we have a great one in seafood. It requires no land, little to no fresh water, and is much healthier for us than red meat. Studies show switching to seafood from beef reduces the prevalence of cancer, heart disease and obesity. Seafood is also healthier for the planet as it generates little to no climate-changing gases, unlike the vast amounts of methane generated by cows, pigs, and other livestock. But to have seafood as a real alternative for the future, we need to fix how we fish and reverse decades of decline and poor fisheries management.
With Bloomberg’s help, changing the way the world catches fish is entirely possible. The European Union and 25 countries control more than 90 percent of all the fish caught in the world. Bloomberg’s five-year grant will allow Oceana to expand our efforts in three of these countries, which together make up seven percent of the world’s fisheries. Rebuilding fisheries is a proven strategy. With better management measures studies show that we can potentially increase global fish catch by up to 40 percent from current levels.
Or, to put it another way, better management will enable us to feed 250 million more people a healthy seafood meal each day. And if we stop feeding the fish we catch to pigs, salmon and other animals, we will be able to feed 650 million more people a nutritious seafood meal daily. Plus, our ocean ecosystems will be more biodiverse and abundant, brimming with sharks, turtles, whales, and other incredible ocean creatures.
This is an unprecedented chance to transform the world’s oceans and to improve the lives of millions of people. We’d like to thank Michael Bloomberg for choosing to help Oceana save the oceans and feed the world. We can’t wait to get started.