We are on track, at Oceana, to save the oceans and feed the world in no small part because of the vision, determination and generosity of Bloomberg Philanthropies. In 2014, Oceana became part of their Vibrant Oceans Initiative, which was launched with an initial commitment of $53 million to protect marine ecosystems in three major ocean countries – Brazil, Chile, and the Philippines.
And, so, we are beyond pleased for the oceans and Oceana that the foundation is significantly increasing their commitment to saving the seas; they have announced a $86 million investment to expand into countries that are home to priority coral geographies, are top fishing nations, or are countries where fish is a major food source – or all three. As a result, Oceana’s work in Brazil, Chile and the Philippines will continue to be supported, and new campaigns in Peru and the U.S. will be included as part of Phase II. Oceana’s global efforts to fight illegal fishing and increase transparency are also part of the expansion. And, Bloomberg is launching a new partnership with OceanX, an initiative of Dalio Philanthropies, to increase ocean understanding and protection.
We are confident, just as with the first phase of this project, that the result will be more vibrant and healthier seas. Oceana has, as part of the first phase of this project won significant victories. We have stood alongside Chile’s leaders as that country became a global leader in ocean conservation, banning bottom trawling in 98 percent of its territory and designating huge marine parks. In the Philippines, we have explored and protected the Benham Rise, a unique habitat with vast coral reefs and full of vibrant marine life. And, in Brazil, we have successfully campaigned for new fisheries management policies and won protections that will ban destructive bottom trawling in more than 13,000 square kilometers of ocean.
We know that winning policy victories in key countries can make a real difference in the health of the ocean. As Michael Bloomberg stated in the press release announcing his foundation’s new commitment, “More than three billion people depend on the oceans for food and their livelihoods. That means threats to marine ecosystems – like climate change and overfishing – also threaten lives around the world.” If we restore vibrant oceans, the potential is incredible: a healthy seafood meal each day for more than a billion people. Wild fish is a sustainable, climate-smart protein source that can help feed the future – but only if we implement responsible policies now.
Oceana thanks Bloomberg Philanthropies for their ongoing commitment, and we look forward to working together with all of the Vibrant Oceans partners to win many more victories on behalf of the seas.