The Ocean Foundation have a mission to conserve the marine environment.



A humpback whale caught in a fishing net


HUMPBACK WHALE - Marine life needs to be protected against ocean pollution. Ocean pollution includes plastic, nets and oil spills. Technology with the potential to alleviate such issues should be accelerated as a high priority.


The Ocean Foundation is a gathering place for marine conservation donors and conservation entrepreneurs to advance global ocean solutions. They work to provide financial resources to marine conservation initiatives by providing conservation grants, hosting projects and funds, and collaborating with important campaigns and opinion leaders.


Because of the dynamic nature of marine business, including the many projects that they host, the Ocean Foundation has a variety of powerful resources that they can bring to any ocean conservation project. They have grantees, partners and projects on all the world’s continents. The foundation's Board of Directors is comprised of individuals with significant experience in marine conservation philanthropy, complemented by an expert, professional staff, and a growing international advisory board of scientists, policy makers, educational specialists, and other top experts.

Since 2003 the Ocean Foundation have spent $21 million on marine conservation - through grants and services - to protect marine habitat and species of concern, build the ocean conservation community's capacity and expand ocean literacy. Not bad going, and long may it continue. 




Do you have a great idea for saving our oceans, but are struggling to turn your vision into reality? As a fiscal sponsor, The Ocean Foundation can help reduce the complexity of operating a successful project or organization by providing the critical infrastructure, proficiency, and expertise of a large NGO so you can focus on program development, fundraising, and outreach. The Ocean Foundation create a space for innovation and unique approaches to marine conservation where people with big ideas - social entrepreneurs, grassroots advocates, and cutting-edge researchers - can take risks, experiment with new methods, and think outside of the box.

By eliminating the burden of maneuvering the lengthy process of establishing and maintaining an independent nonprofit corporation, the Foundation enables small groups and individuals - those most often marginalized in the nonprofit sector due to a lack of capital, administrative expertise, or regulatory knowledge - to have a voice and to conduct work in an effective and results-oriented way that makes an impact. And, if the goal is to one day become an independent NGO, The Ocean Foundation can serve as an incubator, fostering the growth and operational maturity of the organization until it is ready to fledge.


Even large, established organizations can benefit from working with a fiscal sponsor to improve their administrative efficiency and reduce overhead costs so more funds can be directed to accomplishing the organization’s mission.



“Fiscal Sponsorship” refers to the practice of nonprofit institutions offering their legal and tax-exempt status, together with all applicable administrative services, to individuals or groups engaged in research, projects, and activities relating to and furthering the mission of the sponsoring nonprofit organization. 

The Ocean Foundation offers two different types of fiscal sponsorship at The Ocean Foundation, direct programmatic sponsorship and pre-approved grant relationships:

1. Direct Programmatic Sponsorship (Hosted Projects)

What they refer to as their Fiscally Sponsored Funds, direct programmatic sponsorship, or comprehensive sponsorship, is ideal for individuals or groups, which lack a separate legal identity and desire support for all administrative aspects of their work. Once they become a Project of The Ocean Foundation, they become a legal part of our organization, and the Foundation offers a full spectrum of services so that they can effectively manage their finances, receive tax-deductible donations, enroll contractors and/or employees, and apply for grants, among other benefits. 

For this type of sponsorship, the Foundation charges 10% on all incoming revenue.

2. Pre-Approved Grant Relationship (Supported Organizations)

What they refer to as their Friends of Funds, a pre-approved grant relationship is best suited for organizations that are already legally incorporated. This can include foreign charities seeking tax-deductible support from U.S. funders, but also U.S. charities during the long wait for their non-profit status approval from the IRS. Through this type of sponsorship, the Foundation do not provide the administrative services related to running the project, but they do provide grant management and the administrative and legal infrastructure to collect tax-deductible donations. 

For this type of sponsorship, the Foundation charges 9% on all incoming revenue.

To learn more about these fiscal sponsorship services, and to submit an application, please contact Ben Scheelk, Program Associate.




The Ocean Foundation
1320 19th St, NW
5th Floor
Washington, DC 20036

P: (202)887-8996
F: (202) 887-8987




HRH the Prince of Wales speaking at a Global Ocean Commission event in Washington DC in March of 2015. The future King of England has consistently kept a weather eye open to help safeguard the marine environment.




The high seas are open to all states, whether coastal or land-locked. Freedom of the high seas, and particularly the governance of high seas fishing, is exercised under the conditions laid down in 'Part VII: High Seas' of the 1982 UN Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS), which entered into force in 1994, and in the 1995 Agreement on the Conservation and Management of Straddling Fish Stocks And Highly Migratory Fish Stocks (known as the UN Fish Stocks Agreement), which entered into force in 2001.

The FAO Code of Conduct on Responsible Fisheries integrates the requirements of UNCLOS and the Fish Stocks Agreement, as well as bridging them with the wider requirements of the UN Convention on Environment and Development (UNCED).

High seas resources are currently primarily managed by regional fishery organizations (RFOs) charged with organizing international cooperation around a number of tasks, including: the collection of fishery statistics; the assessment of the state of resources; the imparting of scientific advice; management decisions; and monitoring. The implementation and enforcement of measures is, however, usually the preroga-tive of the Flag State, and the relative effectiveness of RFOs varies from region to region, and task to task.




FISH FOR FOOD - We take fish for granted, but our untidy habits are poisoning the high seas leading to an inevitable crash - when fish is no longer deemed safe to eat and we have overfished the oceans to extinction. To ensure fish stocks we need to eliminate plastic waste from the food chain before it's too late and curb pirate fishing.





BIODIVERSITY - Intelligent though some marine animals may be, they cannot speak and are not welcome at political rallies. It is thus up to humans to speak on their behalf. If they could speak to us they would tell us about the waste that is polluting their habitat. They'd also tell us about ocean acidification.


[LEFT] Manatees (family Trichechidae, genus Trichechus) are large, fully aquatic, mostly herbivorous marine mammals sometimes known as sea cows. There are three accepted living species of Trichechidae, representing three of the four living species in the order Sirenia: the Amazonian manatee (Trichechus inunguis), the West Indian manatee (Trichechus manatus), and the West African manatee (Trichechus senegalensis). They measure up to 13 feet (4.0 m) long, weigh as much as 1,300 pounds (590 kg), and have paddle-like flippers. The name manatí comes from the Taíno, a pre-Columbian people of the Caribbean, meaning "breast".


[RIGHT] An octopus is a cephalopod mollusc of the order Octopoda. It has two eyes and four pairs of arms and, like other cephalopods, it is bilaterally symmetric. An octopus has a hard beak, with its mouth at the center point of the arms. An octopus has no internal or external skeleton (although some species have a vestigial remnant of a shell inside their mantles), allowing it to squeeze through tight places. Octopuses are among the most intelligent and behaviorally flexible of all invertebrates.

Octopuses inhabit many diverse regions of the ocean, including coral reefs, pelagic waters, and the ocean floor. They have numerous strategies for defending themselves against predators, including the expulsion of ink, the use of camouflage and deimatic displays, their ability to jet quickly through the water, and their ability to hide. All octopuses are venomous, but only one group, the blue-ringed octopus, is known to be deadly to humans. Around 300 species are recognized, which is over one-third of the total number of known cephalopod species. The term 'octopus' may also be used to refer specifically to the genus Octopus.




The existing framework of governance for the high seas is not fit for purpose in the 21st century. Since UNCLOS was agreed more than thirty years ago, activities such as deep sea bottom trawling and offshore oil and gas exploration have extended further and deeper, and today we are on the brink of deep sea mineral mining becoming a viable global industry. Meanwhile, under UNCLOS, there is no global framework of rules for protecting the biodiversity of the high seas — indeed, UNCLOS does not even contain the word "biodiversity". The Law of the Sea urgently needs to extend further and deeper, to catch up with the pace of human technology and exploitation before the high seas fall victim to even greater levels of irrevocable plunder.

Just 0.79% of the high seas are marine protected areas (MPAs), and this paltry figure would be far smaller without the significant progress in the Southern Ocean and North-East Atlantic of the past few years, in two cases where a legal framework for such MPAs exists. Even including coastal zones and areas within EEZs, only 1.6% of the global ocean is protected, compared with 12.7% of the world's land area. There is a very long way to go if governments are to meet Aichi Biodiversity Target 11 of the Convention on Biological Diversity, which calls for at least 10% of the ocean to be covered by a network of MPAs by 2020. Scientists have advised going even further, recommending that between 20-40% of the ocean be given MPA status in order to conserve viable populations of key species, secure ecosystem functions and allow sufficient connectivity between individual protected areas.




UNEA is the highest-level UN body ever convened on the environment. It enjoys universal membership of all 193 UN member states as well as other stakeholder groups. With this wide reach into the legislative, financial and development arenas, the new body presents a ground-breaking platform for leadership on global environmental policy. The UNEA boasts over 1200 participants, 170 national delegations, and 80 ministers. With all this muscle, can we expect to see some positive action to clean up ocean plastic from local and international waters?




GLOBAL OCEAN COMMISSIONERS at the 2013 launch. From left: David Miliband, Obiageli 'Oby' Ezekwesili, Jose Maria Figueres



The Global Ocean Commission published its final recommendations in 2014, shortly before the United Nations General Assembly began discussions on protecting high seas biodiversity. The Commission’s report consisted of proposals to improve the system of ocean governance, thus ending high seas over-fishing, stopping the loss of habitat and biodiversity, and improving monitoring and compliance.



Plastic waste in the oceans is killing marine life


PLASTIC WASTE - Tons of plastic floating in our oceans is a serious problem we face on this globe, considered to be one of most serious threats to our oceans. 90% of all trash floating on the ocean’s surface is in the form of plastic materials, with 46,000 pieces of plastic per square mile. Plastic does not biodegrade, it photo-degrades with sunlight, breaking down into smaller and smaller pieces. These plastic pieces are eaten by marine life and eventually works it way up the food chain - as per the diagram below.



Plastic is also swept away by ocean currents, landing in swirling vortexes called ocean gyres. The North Pacific Gyre off the coast of California is home to the Great Pacific Garbage Patch, the largest ocean garbage site in the world. The floating mass of plastic is twice the size of Texas. These floating garbage sites are impossible to fully clean up. Over 100,000 marine mammals and one million seabirds die each year from ingesting or becoming entangled in plastic. Plastic poses a significant threat to the health of sea creatures, both big and small. It takes 500-1000 years for plastic to degrade, threatening both human and ocean health.





The Commissioner for Maritime affairs and Fisheries is a member of the European Commission. The portfolio includes policies such as the Common Fisheries Policy, which is largely a competence of the European Union, not the members. The Union has 66,000 km of coastline and the largest Exclusive Economic Zone in the world, covering 25 million km². They participate in meetings of the Agriculture and Fisheries Council (Agrifish) configuration of the Council of the European Union. Their governance is thus a model for the world and should send a signal to other fishing nations as to important issues and remedies. Actions speak louder than words.





The Directorate-General for Maritime Affairs and Fisheries (also known in short as DG MARE) is the Commission department responsible for the implementation of the Common Fisheries policy and of the Integrated Maritime Policy. DG MARE reports to Karmenu Vella (left), Commissioner for Environment, Maritime Affairs and Fisheries. Lowri Evans has been Director-General in DG Maritime Affairs and Fisheries since 2010. Prior to that she has worked in several policy areas in the European Commission notably Competition and Employment.







Save the Mermaids by keeping our oceans clean, please





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