The commitment includes $15.5 million previously pledged through 2022 as part of the foundation's five-year, $220 million commitment to its Marine Conservation, Marine Microbiology, Oceans and Seafood Markets, and Wild Salmon Ecosystems initiatives. Extended through 2024, the Marine Conservation Initiative will now include a special focus on the North American Arctic, British Columbia, and the U.S. West Coast.
To ensure that North American oceans can sustain their productivity, biodiversity, and ecological value, the initiative will support efforts to protect ecologically important features, manage the range of human uses in those places, and establish frameworks to ensure their enduring health; maintain and extend recent conservation and community gains from U.S. fisheries management reforms and East Coast ocean planning efforts; and scale lessons learned through national-level engagement.
"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," said Denny Takahashi-Kelso, program director for the foundation's 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."
"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."