The oceans cover nearly 70% of our planet and provide the primary source of protein for more than 3 billion people across the globe; however, less than 4% are formally protected and one third of the world’s fisheries are overexploited. To safeguard our world’s most precious resource, the Leonardo DiCaprio Foundation is supporting projects that safeguard vast swaths of our oceans and constrain fishing pressures around the world. In 2011, alongside four other forward-thinking organizations who share a commitment to protecting the world’s oceans, LDF helped launch Oceans 5. This international funders’ collaborative makes grants, leverages matching grants, provides in-kind services, and shares strategic guidance – all to support its grantees – in an effort to constrain overfishing and create and expand marine protected areas.
Since its inception, this truly innovative group has supported roughly 50 globally significant, collaborative projects with a total investment of more than $40 million. Oceans 5 projects deliver tangible results, including the creation of the world’s largest marine reserve in the Ross Sea of Antarctica, a more than 75,000 square mile marine reserve in the Seychelles, and a protected area in the Cook Islands almost the size of California. In addition, they have obtained new regulations on illegal seafood and traceability in the United States, improved existing seafood regulations in Europe, and helped fund the construction of a state-of-the-art radar facility in Costa Rica to strengthen enforcement of illegal fishing and poaching.
With 13 current members and partners, it has become a trusted platform for both new and experienced philanthropists, providing substantial leveraging opportunities for those involved.