The political world, recently, spent much time speculating about what former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg would do next after leaving office. And, I have very good news to share—one of Mayor Bloomberg’s new goals will be to help save the oceans and feed the world.
Oceana and two other groups will be joint recipients of a historic and innovative $53-million, five-year grant from Bloomberg Philanthropies to restore fish populations in three of the world’s largest fishing nations: Brazil, Chile, and the Philippines. “Data shows the world’s severely threatened fish populations can rebound if fishing is properly managed,” noted Mayor Bloomberg in a press release about the grant. “The investment we are making now will help bring more life back to our oceans—and protect them for future generations.”
Bloomberg’s grant, “the Vibrant Oceans Initiative,” supports three organizations with distinctive areas of expertise—Oceana, Rare and EKO Asset Management—to focus on a mix of national reforms, local management, and financial incentives for fishers in these countries. Oceana will advocate for national policies that help reform industrial fishing, including setting and enforcing science-based quotas to stop overfishing, reducing bycatch and protecting critical habitat. Rare will seek to improve the state of near shore fisheries by working with coastal communities to create exclusive fishing rights for local fishers along with the creation and strengthening of protected areas. This grant will also support EKO Asset Management, who will develop investment blueprints that bring private capital to financially reward small-scale fishers and industrial fleets transitioning to sustainably-managed fisheries.
This grant is, in many ways, a huge step towards realizing our goal of saving the oceans to feed the world. It will allow Oceana to expand our efforts to Brazil and the Philippines and to expand our work in Chile. Together, these countries make up seven percent of the world’s fisheries. If we succeed, it will be clear that there is no reason that the other 27 countries that control more than 90 percent of the world’s wild fish catch can’t do the same thing.Scientific reports tell us that fixing the world’s fisheries could deliver 40 percent more fish to the future. This means that 250 million more people could enjoy a healthy seafood meal each day. It also means that the ocean’s ecosystems will be more biodiverse, abundant, healthy and full of sea turtles, sharks, dolphins, whales and other incredible ocean creatures.
None of this would be possible without your help. This is your moment, as well as Oceana’s. Thank you. Now, let’s go and save the oceans and feed the world.
For the oceans,
Chief Executive Officer
P.S. If you’re interested in learning more, please read this recent article in the Financial Times about the grant and the critical work we will accomplish with this funding.