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Posted: 03 September 2020

It’s a watery world… Our aspiration for a diverse and abundant ocean

99% of the earth’s habitable space is in the ocean, yet the abundance of marine life has declined dramatically due to pressures from human activity. Over the last century, the total biomass (quantity) of predatory fish has fallen by two-thirds and will continue to decline as the impacts of the climate crisis intensify. Whether you live close to the coast or not, we are all dependent on a healthy ocean for our wellbeing, health and prosperity. Coral reefs alone provide food and other resources for around 500 million people.

Deep Sea Conservation Coalition, NOAA Office of Ocean Exploration and Research, Gulf of Mexico 2017

Due to direct damage, pollution and exploitation, we risk losing species, some of which have not yet been discovered. According to our grantee, the Wildlife Conservation Society, just 13% of the ocean can be considered wilderness, compared to 23% of the world’s landmass. But all is not lost, yet. With advances in science, conservationists now have the knowledge and tools to rebuild marine life in our lifetime. This is remarkable, but there is no time to waste. We must act now!

Arcadia’s environment programme focuses on natural habitats and biodiversity. We support projects around the world, and across all ecosystems. Our grantees work to protect endangered nature in three main ways: implementing on-site interventions (e.g. protection and restoration), promoting good governance (e.g. through investigations and legal actions) and empowering leaders (e.g. through training of conservation professionals). Many of our grantees work exclusively or partially on marine conservation activities.

Eleven of our current environment grantees undertake marine projects across 69 countries, spanning all major ocean biomes. A further six grantees work on cross-cutting issues, such as campaigning work on the protection of biodiversity in the deep and high seas (e.g. the Deep Sea Conservation Coalition and Deep Ocean Stewardship Initiative), and Conservation Evidence’s open-access syntheses of effective conservation interventions in fisheries. For more, see our Grant Directory.

Fauna & Flora International, Nicaragua. © Alam Ramíre.

Our marine grants:

17 partners

Active in 69 countries

6 cross-cutting projects


Work we have supported has already had an impact, for example:

An increase in the number of large, biologically diverse and well-connected seascapes under protection:

Fauna & Flora International (FFI) were involved in the establishment of Cambodia’s first marine protected area (MPA) and continue to provide support for monitoring and management of the MPA, and with new community fisheries and conservation projects across the country.

The Endangered Landscapes Programme supports the restoration of over 500 km of the Turkish Mediterranean coast, which has resulted in new no-take zones and protected pupping sites for endangered monk seals

Stronger laws and policies that protect and foster the conservation and restoration of endangered biodiversity and seascapes:

ClientEarth uses the law to challenge illegal fishing in EU nature reserves and to reduce whale and dolphin bycatch.

The Environmental Justice Foundation also works closely with EU regulators, sharing vital intelligence which leads to the EU issuing yellow cards to nations complicit in illegal, unregulated and unreported (IUU) fishing.

Oceana’s advocacy has led to bans on bottom trawling in the Philippines and Brazil, protecting 276,000 km2 and 13,000 km2 of ocean respectively. Bottom trawling has been likened to bulldozing - weighted nets are dragged across the seafloor, indiscriminately catching and damaging everything in their path.

A growing network of outstanding professional leaders who drive and sustain global marine conservation and restoration efforts:

The Earth Journalism Network’s Biodiversity Media Initiative has provided training for more than 1,000 journalists from biodiversity-rich regions, which has led to exposés on marine threats, such as foreign trawlers endangering the livelihoods of fishers in Cameroon.

The Miriam Rothschild Scholarship Programme in Conservation Leadership supports conservation professionals like Alfonso Hernandez Ríos to undertake Masters at the University of Cambridge. Alfonso has gone on to lead BirdLife’s West Africa Marine Conservation Program.


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