February 21, 2014
CEO Note: Leonardo DiCaprio Foundation Awards Oceana $3 Million
BY: Andy Sharpless
I’m proud to announce that the Leonardo DiCaprio Foundation just awarded Oceana a grant of $3 million to aid our conservation efforts in the Pacific and Arctic Oceans. Over the next three years, this grant will help fund existing and new campaigns that target ocean habitats and keystone species, like sharks.
The Pacific and Arctic Oceans are home to some of the most productive ocean habitats in the entire world. Off the coast of Chile, more than 100 seamounts jut from the ocean floor, covered with vibrant corals, reef fish, and circling sharks. Thousands of miles north, cold-water currents around the Alaska’s Aleutian archipelago support an abundance of marine mammals, fish, and seabirds.
But many of these critical marine areas remain vulnerable to destructive and wasteful fishing practices, like bottom trawling and drift gillnets. DiCaprio’s grant will support Oceana’s efforts to protect great white sharks, dolphins, whales and other marine animals from being caught (and potentially killed) as bycatch in gillnets and other unselective fishing gear. Additionally, the grant will help Oceana protect ecologically important ocean areas from the tip of Chile to the Gulf of Alaska from bottom trawling.
Safeguarding these ecosystems is a necessary investment in one of the ocean’s most valuable resources—wild seafood. Healthier oceans could feed more than a billion people a healthy seafood meal each day, and we will need this resource as the human population continues to grow.
The Leonardo DiCaprio Foundation focuses on pressing environmental and humanitarian issues, including wildlife and habitat preservation, healthy oceans, water access, and climate change and disaster relief. This is the first ocean conservation grant issued by the foundation from the $38.8 million raised at its 11th Hour Charity Auction hosted at Christie’s last year. I’m proud they’ve chosen Oceana as a grant recipient, and I look forward to writing to you in the years to come about the critical victories we will achieve with their support.
For the oceans,
Chief Executive Officer