February 2014: The Leonardo DiCaprio Foundation has given a $3 million grant to Oceana,
an international organisation focused solely on ocean conservation.
The grant will aid their efforts to protect threatened ocean habitat
and keystone marine species in the Pacific and Arctic Oceans.
“Protecting our planet’s oceans and the marine species that call it home
is one of the most pressing sustainability crises facing humanity today
and a moral imperative that we must acknowledge,” DiCaprio said.
“It’s my hope that this grant will help Oceana continue the tremendous work
that they do daily on behalf of our oceans.”
The Pacific and Arctic Oceans contain
some of the most productive marine ecosystems in the world.
From seamounts off of Chile to Alaska’s Aleutian Islands, protecting these ecosystems is critical
if we want healthy oceans brimming with edible seafood.
“The net impact will be a much more abundant and biodiverse ocean that has many millions more sharks
and critical and amazing marine animals,” says Oceana CEO Andrew Sharpless.
“Wilder and more pristine ocean habitats and oceans can feed over a billion people
—many of them hungry—a healthy seafood meal each day.”
DiCaprio’s grant will also support the charity’s work to advocate for responsible fishing measures,
including the effort to ban drift gillnets in California. Fishermen use these mile-long nets to catch swordfish and thresher sharks, but gillnets also catch
and kill large numbers of other marine animals, including sperm whales,
gray whales, dolphins, sharks, sea turtles, elephant seals, and sea lions.