The Minderoo Foundation in Dalkeith, Western Australia, has announced the launch of a $100 million initiative to study and help protect global marine life.
The Minderoo Ocean Research initiative will track global fishing patterns, fund research on ocean plastics pollution, and develop a research facility at Exmouth, near Australia's Ningaloo Reef, to study the migration of sea life through the Indian Ocean. To help advance its goals, the foundation will partner with a range of institutions in the marine conservation space and has already established informal collaborations with many other groups, including the Sea Around Us, in Vancouver, British Columbia; the Scripps Institution of Oceanography at the University of San Diego; Ocean Elders, an independent group of global leaders and conservationists; the University of Western Australia's Centre for Marine Futures; the College of Science and Engineering at James Cook University Australia; the University of Queensland's Centre for Marine Science; the University of Technology Sydney; the Department of Geography at University College London; the University of Plymouth; ocean conservation organization Oceana; Global Fishing Watch; Singapore-based Eachmile Technologies; Conservation International's Ocean Health Index initiative; the Geneva-based Global Footprint Network; the London-based Overseas Development Institute; big data project FishSpektrum; the Western Australia Museum; the Red List Index; the Luc Hoffman Institute in Gland, Switzerland; and WWF Australia.
The foundation's long-term plans include a commitment to establish a Global Fishing Index, following its success in creating a Global Slavery Index.
"Australia leads the world in many areas of ocean research and conservation, but there's so much more to do once we realize the dire shape our oceans are in," said Minderoo Foundation chair Andrew Forrest, who was among the first international signatories of the Giving Pledge. "Catches from wild fisheries in Australia have fallen by over 30 percent over the past few years and are still falling. Overseas fishing industries have been bankrupted and shut down, and the number of fish species have plummeted by 90 percent. This helps no one. Not recreational fishers, not industry, and certainly not the environment."