Oceana is an environmental charity dedicated to protecting and restoring the world’s oceans. They know that oceans play a vital role in preserving our environmental health.

Group of men with diving equipment in a boat

Oceans cover 71% of the globe. They are home to most of the life on our planet and play a central role in the world’s natural systems. They regulate our climate and absorb carbon dioxide. They provide livelihoods to countless people around the world and feed hundreds of millions of people. Humankind have already altered or destroyed marine ecosystems and driven million-year-old species to the brink of extinction. Oceana has won hundreds of policy victories for marine life and habitats. These include stopping bottom trawling in sensitive habitat areas and protecting sea turtles from commercial fishing gear. 

Although Oceana works across the world, it applied to us for work in the UK. The UK is one of the world’s 20 most important fishing nations. Around 1.5 million tonnes of fish are caught in our waters each year. Oceana launched the UK’s first ever Fisheries Audit that showed less than 40% of fish stocks in the UK are considered to be healthy. The UK also is the second largest per capita producer of plastic waste, creating damaging plastic pollution in the UK. 

Oceana outlined its five-year strategic plan that included; 

  • campaigns to reduce the production and distribution of single-use plastics in the UK 
  • preventing the expansion of offshore oil and gas drilling
  • incentivising the transition to renewable energy
  • a plan that all commercial fish stocks around the UK will be fished at sustainable management levels by 2026 

As a result of Oceana’s campaigning, and thanks to the support of the Garfield Weston Foundation, the UK government has committed to 64 offshore MPAs (Marine Protected Areas) by 2024. The government has also announced new byelaws banning bottom-towed gear inside four offshore MPAs including an iconic North Sea site of more than 12,000 km2 and has launched a consultation to being the process of developing similar byelaws for an additional 13 MPAs.

Oceana had secured a generous matched grant from a family charitable trust. This meant that any new donations would, in effect, be doubled, up to a capped amount. The Foundation has recently increased our funding in the environmental sector significantly. We were happy to make a £1 million commitment over more than one year that will enable Oceana to leverage other funding and make a significant change to policies and practices in the UK.   

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