The grant will enable the aquarium to expand collaborations with food industry leaders, expert bodies, and key NGOs aimed at addressing growing challenges in global fisheries and aquaculture production beyond U.S. shores. To that end, the aquarium will integrate the markets-based work from its Seafood Watch program with its policy and research expertise. As part of that effort, Seafood Watch will engage with leading food service companies, international certification bodies, and major seafood consuming nations to advance seafood traceability, boost consumers' confidence that they are purchasing seafood from sustainable sources, and reward sustainable fishing and aquaculture practices.
Founded by philanthropists Wendy and Eric Schmidt, the Schmidt Family Foundation works to advance the development of renewable energy and the use of natural resources. In 2009, the foundation established the Schmidt Ocean Institute, and in 2012 it launched the research vessel Falkor to advance ocean exploration, discovery, and knowledge. In addition, Wendy Schmidt has partnered with the XPRIZE organization to sponsor the $1.4 million Wendy Schmidt Oil Cleanup XCHALLENGE, which was awarded in 2011, and the $2 million Wendy Schmidt Ocean Health XPRIZE, which is designed to improve our understanding of how carbon-dioxide emissions affect ocean acidification.
"For more than fifteen years, the Monterey Bay Aquarium's Seafood Watch program has led the way in providing critical, science-based information about our seafood population so businesses and consumers across North America can choose seafood that has been fished or farmed in a way that protects sea life and their habitats," said Schmidt. "Eric and I are delighted to provide the resources that will allow the Seafood Watch program to expand internationally, and help ensure that fisheries across the world have access to the kind of information that will allow them to employ practices that protect the health of our oceans."