International ocean conservation organization Oceana has announced a five-year, $10 million grant from the Wyss Foundation in support of the organization’s efforts to improve fish stocks and ocean health in the waters off Peru and Canada.
Together, the two countries account for nearly 14 percent of all the wild ocean fish landed by weight. Oceana will use the grant to support scientists and policy experts in those countries who are working to establish catch limits based on scientific advice, reduce the incidental capture of non-targeted animals, and protect important marine habitat. The portion of the grant earmarked for Canada will be matched by seven other funders.
According to the organization, ocean productivity has declined dramatically due to overfishing, destructive fishing practices, habitat loss, and pollution. If properly managed, ocean fishing could supply 13 percent to 15 percent of the animal protein on the planet. "The Wyss Foundation's commitment will literally help to save the oceans and feed the world," said Oceana CEO Andy Sharpless. "Peru and Canada are two enormous fishing nations where science-based improvements to fishery policy can both greatly increase the amount of the fish landed worldwide and restore health to the oceans."
This is the first major investment in ocean conservation for the Wyss Foundation, which usually supports locally driven efforts to conserve public lands in the American West.
"After decades of declines among the world's fisheries, new science and smarter policies have proven that the productivity and health of our oceans can in fact be restored,” said Hansjörg Wyss, who established the Wyss Foundation in 1998 and signed the Giving Pledge in 2013. "With innovative management strategies, more and more fishing communities are rebuilding fish stocks, sustaining a way of life for future generations, and restoring the ocean's ability to feed the world. We are proud to support these efforts for the countless economic, health, and environmental benefits that come when we help return life to our planet's oceans."