Marine Life & Oceans

Our Oceans provide half of the world’s oxygen supply, regulate the global climate system, and provide the primary source of protein for more than 3 billion people, yet little more than 3% are formally protected.  

LDF is accelerating efforts to protect 30% of the world’s oceans by 2030 through the creation and expansion of marine protected areas. MPAs allow fish populations to rebound and increase the resilience of marine ecosystems, acting as a buffer against the damaging effects of climate change. This past year, LDF partners worked with indigenous groups, international organizations, and local coalitions to secure more than 1.6 million square kilometers of marine protected areas in all 5 oceans – an area more than twice the size of Texas.

We are also working to constrain overfishing and prevent the extinction of threatened marine species. An estimated 25% of all sharks and rays are threatened with extinction and roughly 100 million are killed each year, yet conservation efforts have not kept pace. To combat this, LDF and four other Foundations created the Shark Conservation Fund (SCF) in 2016. In two years, SCF has funded 39 projects in 32 countries around the world to protect these species through improved regulatory frameworks, campaigns to reduce demand for shark fins and strategic marine protected areas.

Additional LDF initiatives such as GlobalFishingWatch.org and the development of the first ever women’s ocean patrol team in the Raja Ampat Islands are combatting overfishing and working to protect the health of the world’s fisheries at both the global and local levels.

LDF ACTION HIGHLIGHTS

  • After years of dedicated efforts, Oceans 5 assisted in the creation of the world’s largest marine reserve in Antarctica’s Ross Sea, preserving one of Earth’s most pristine marine ecosystems and protecting it from commercial fishing and resource extraction.
  • Following a meeting with LDF and the Carlos Slim Foundation, the Mexican government announced a permanent ban on gillnets and other measures in an effort to save the world’s 30 remaining vaquita in the Gulf of California.
  • The governments of Indonesia and Peru, two of the largest fishing nations in the world,  announced they would make their vessel data publicly available to Global Fishing Watch – an unprecedented move to halt illegal fishing and improve transparency on our seas.
  • The Pristine Seas Initiative, which leads scientific expeditions to aid governments in formally protecting the last remaining intact marine ecosystems, has successfully implemented 4.4 million square kilometers of marine protected areas.

Explore all Ocean Conservation projects >

Through collaborative partnerships, we support innovative projects that protect vulnerable wildlife from extinction, while restoring balance to threatened ecosystems and communities. Our work is divided into six main program areas – Wildlands Conservation, Oceans Conservation, Climate Change, Indigenous Rights, Transforming California, and Innovative Solutions.

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