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New Ocean Grantmaking Strategy and Webpages

The David and Lucile Packard Foundation re-launched the Ocean section of to reflect our new 15-year ocean grantmaking framework. The new framework will continue to advance our vision of a future where the biodiversity, resilience and abundance of ocean life in coastal and marine ecosystems is rebounding and increasing benefits for human well-being.

You can explore more about the new framework below and through the Ocean section of


Why Does the Ocean Matter?

All life on Earth depends on the ocean. It is home to more species than we could ever count—creatures both microscopic and majestic. It is a critical source of food and income for families and communities, providing the primary animal protein for billions of people around the world and supporting the livelihoods of hundreds of millions of people. The ocean is also a natural engine that produces about half of the world’s oxygen and regulates our global climate.

Why Must We Act Now?

It is easy to think of the world’s ocean as infinitely boundless, vibrant and healthy. Unfortunately, that’s not the case. Increasing threats—caused by humans—are putting pressure on the ocean and damaging its ability to sustain us.

We are rapidly destroying places that fish and wildlife need to feed and reproduce. We are fishing in ways that do not give stocks time to recover. We are building fish farms that do more long-term harm than short-term good. On top of that, human caused climate change is warming the ocean and making it more acidic, which in turn makes life in the ocean harder to sustain.

All of these pressures together erode the ocean’s ability to bounce back. If left unaddressed they will undermine the health and productivity of our ocean, harm the global economy and endanger our own well-being.

Why is this Important to the Packard Foundation?

Our founders, David and Lucile Packard, firmly believed in the power of science to improve people’s lives and restore the planet’s health. Since our first marine-related grant in 1968, the Packard Foundation has been committed to better understanding and protecting our ocean —from providing support for the creation and growth of institutions like the Monterey Bay Aquarium and its Research Institute…

To supporting our grantees in efforts to establish and expand marine protected areas around the world and improve the management of fisheries, to the funding of basic scientific research that guides this work. This long-standing engagement, with a diverse set of grantees, has transformed what we know about our ocean and how people interact with it.

We envision a future where biodiversity flourishes and the ocean’s natural resilience continues to sustain life for generations to come. It’s not too late for life in the ocean to recover, yet time is of the essence. And creating positive, lasting change will not be easy—but it is possible.

How Can We Achieve this Vision?

Today, the Foundation’s ocean investments are focused primarily on the threats of overfishing, irresponsible marine aquaculture and habitat loss because they currently have the greatest impact on the ocean and its biodiversity. We also focus on climate change and ocean acidification because they are the most important long-term threats to the ocean.

While the problems facing the ocean are complex—and responses to address these threats may differ from place to place—the basic path to creating a better future for the ocean is clear:

  • Stop the activities that do the most harm. | Work with governments and civil society at all levels to establish, strengthen and enforce rules to stop the most damaging practices—such as illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing—and create incentives for improved fishing practices.
  • Create incentives for the solutions that do the most good.| Strengthen demand for sustainable seafood so that sustainable practices become the norm, rather than the exception.
  • Help leaders and communities to build the knowledge and capacity to take positive steps. |Partner with leaders from all sectors, by helping them to access or develop information and tools they need to make responsible management decisions.
  • Take Action Now |The problems we are trying to address will only become more difficult and expensive to solve if we wait.

The changes we seek won’t happen overnight. They will take a sustained effort. Learn about our Approaches.

Where Do We Focus our Grantmaking?

Through an analysis of science, and the history and strengths we bring as a Foundation, we identified six countries with great potential to influence the health of the global ocean. Taken together, these countries play a significant role in the global seafood economy and boast coastal and marine habitat that is vital to the ocean’s biodiversity. They are also places where we as a Foundation are well-positioned to support positive changes. Learn About our Country Strategies.

We will also work at regional and global levels to promote policies and strategies that can help accelerate progress in the countries where we work and around the world. Learn About our Global Strategies.

What Do We Consider as Keys to Success?

We need to be flexible. | There are no one-size-fits-all solutions. We need an integrated approach that adapts to local realities in each place where we provide support.

We can learn together. | To ensure that the majority of seafood is sustainable and that we reach marine biodiversity protection targets, we must learn and adapt as environmental and market conditions shift over time.

We will enable others. | The work required is far more than any one person or group can undertake on their own. As a funder, our job is to strengthen the capacity and effectiveness of others, by investing in the people, organizations and places that can have significant and lasting positive impact.

How Can We Work Together?

These complex global challenges can only be addressed by working together and across sectors.

  • Communities and Policy Makers: Together, we can identify and use effective ocean policies that help you solve your greatest challenges.
  • Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs): We are counting on your expertise to affect change in communities, in government and in the marketplace.
  • Businesses: With your help we can find solutions and advance policies that are sustainable for the ocean and the seafood industry.
  • Research Community: Your work can help us understand how the ocean is changing and surface the solutions that are most effective in improving ocean health.
  • Funders: The needs extend far beyond the support currently available for ocean conservation work. Time is of the essence – this is the moment for us to join together in supporting work to protect the planet’s ocean before the problems become more difficult and more expensive to solve.

The ocean sustains us all. Working together, guided by science and inspired by human ingenuity, we believe a better future for the ocean is possible.