Moore Foundation commits $152 million to marine conservation efforts 

The ocean is a mysterious, productive frontier. For millennia, it has sustained communities with food, economic opportunities and recreation. Our experience gives us a connection to the sea’s remarkable web of life, and a profound sense of its power and beauty.

Even as we celebrate these diverse gifts, we must acknowledge that North America’s marine health is declining – along with its ability to produce food, protect against storms, buffer our changing climate and provide so many other services critical to humans and other species who depend on our shared ocean.

Today we announce a $152 million, seven-year commitment to our Marine Conservation Initiative. Our work through 2024 will place a special focus on the North American Arctic, British Columbia and U.S. West Coast.

“We are at a threshold for the United States and Canada’s Arctic and West Coast marine ecosystems, as we witness intense, climate-related disruptions and see an increased urgency to limit the severity of other human-caused ecosystem impacts,” explained Denny Takahashi-Kelso, program director for the Marine Conservation Initiative. “Over the next seven years, we are prioritizing our funding where we see the greatest combined ecological value and near-term potential for significant conservation.”

Building on a 13-year history

Since 2004 the foundation has invested more than $260 million to promote healthy, sustainable marine ecosystems. Marine Conservation Initiative grantees have worked to ensure that our vast North American oceans can sustain their productivity, biodiversity and resources. We celebrate our grantees’ many achievements—from the improvement of fisheries management systems in the U.S. and recovery of key commercial fisheries, to supporting the development of regional ocean plans on the East Coast of the U.S., to the marine plans collaboratively developed and signed by 17 coastal First Nations and the province of British Columbia for the North Pacific Coast.

We also recognize the ocean’s limits and most urgent threats. In many geographies, marine health in the United States and Canada is in decline. In a handful of these places, we have favorable windows of opportunity to support the groups who can safeguard them.

“The geographies where we will be working are at once globally significant and locally vibrant –  with peoples and organizations who are deeply committed to sustaining the marine environment they depend upon,” said Aileen Lee, chief program officer for Environmental Conservation. “We have the privilege of supporting their work to translate their visions into conservation gains that are meaningful on a global scale.”

Deepening our approach

Specifically, the Marine Conservation Initiative will now be working toward:

  • Protecting ecologically important features, managing the range of human uses in those places and establishing frameworks for enduring health of the marine ecosystems of the North American Arctic, British Columbia and the U.S. West Coast;
  • Ensuring lasting conservation and community gains from U.S. fisheries management reforms and East Coast ocean planning efforts to date;
  • Extending and scaling lessons and conditions through national-level engagement.

We are grateful to our grantees for their commitment to ocean conservation and the significant progress they have made, and we look forward to this next phase, working toward ocean health and resilience for future generations.

About the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation

The Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation fosters path-breaking scientific discovery, environmental conservation, patient care improvements, and preservation of the special character of the Bay Area. Follow @MooreFound or visit


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