Vibrant Oceans

ENSURING OUR OCEANS SURVIVE AND THRIVE IN THE FACE OF CLIMATE CHANGE

Whether for food, economic livelihoods or critical habitat, billions of people and marine species depend on the world’s oceans to live – making the impact of climate change on oceans a pressing threat that cannot be ignored.

Bloomberg Philanthropies’ mission is to ensure better, longer lives for the greatest number of people. Recognizing the dire need to protect our oceans not only from the inevitable long-term impacts of climate change but the immediate threats of pollution and overfishing, the Vibrant Oceans Initiative is working with world-class partners to ensure that key ocean ecosystems – and the people dependent on them around the world – can survive and thrive despite these growing threats.

Bloomberg’s Vibrant Oceans Initiative works with world-class partners to ensure ocean ecosystems survive and thrive despite the growing threat of climate change. Launched in 2014 with an initial commitment of $53 million in three countries – Brazil, Chile, and the Philippines – Vibrant Oceans partners with coastal communities, nonprofit organizations, local and national governments, policy makers, and academic groups to advance evidence-based conservation practices and implement data-driven fisheries management policies around the world.

In October 2018, Bloomberg Philanthropies announced Phase II of Vibrant Oceans – making an $86 million investment to expand work into 10 target countries – Australia, the Bahamas, Chile, Fiji, French Polynesia, Indonesia, the Philippines, Tanzania, Peru and the United States. Bloomberg selected these countries because they are home to priority coral geographies, are top fishing nations, or are countries where fish is a major food source – or all three.

Building on the successes of Phase I, Vibrant Oceans will focus on the following goals for Phase II:

1. Promote adoption of high-impact, science-based fisheries and marine protection policies in at least 10 countries.

2. Protect at least 50 reef geographies that are projected to be less vulnerable to long-term climate impacts and can repopulate other reefs over time.

3. Support at least 20 countries to achieve fishing activity transparency in their national waters.

POOR FISHING PRACTICES AND POLLUTION THREATEN OCEAN ECOSYSTEMS — MAKING THEM MORE VULNERABLE TO CLIMATE CHANGE

Bloomberg Philanthropies is driving climate action around the world in an effort to reach international long-term targets. That is why the Vibrant Oceans Initiative focuses on the two the most immediate near-term threats to marine environments and coastal communities:

Overfishing and Destructive Fishing Practices:

Fish provide the main source of animal protein for more than one billion people around the world. But as the global demand for fish continues to rise, overfishing and destructive fishing practices are depleting the supply of fish. To help secure this critical global food source, it is critical to end the destruction of marine ecosystems and halt practices that over-exploit populations.

Pollution:

Pollution reduces water quality, lowering the level of oxygen, and/or causing algal blooms and “dead zones,” all of which make it more difficult for fish – and coral reefs – to survive. To protect ocean ecosystems, rising pollution must be curbed.

APPLYING THE BLOOMBERG PHILANTHROPIES APPROACH TO ENSURE OCEAN ECOSYSTEMS ARE MORE RESILIENT IN THE FACE OF CLIMATE CHANGE THROUGH:

Strategic Partnerships

No one group or one country alone can solve the threats facing our oceans. One of our key priorities is to form and foster partnerships among leading ocean conservation groups, advocates, funders, business leaders, scientists and governments.

Our current partners include: Rare, Oceana, Global Fishing Watch, Oceans5, Wildlife Conservation Society, OceanX Media, and the Commonwealth Secretariat. More will be announced over the course of the next phase.

National Policy Reform

Employing a data-driven approach, Vibrant Oceans works with partners on the ground in priority countries to reform and enforce national policies that help stop overfishing and save key marine habitats from pollution and destructive fishing practices.

Local Conservation and Fisheries Management

Vibrant Oceans partners with organizations, coastal communities and local governments to manage small-scale fisheries, manage fish and coral resources, and prevent marine pollution to protect their sources of income and nutrition while ensuring long-term sustainability and resilience of the coastal ecosystems. Empowering local communities with direct control over their resources is a proven way to enhance conservation and safeguard sources of income and nutrition, as well as ensure long-term resilience of coastal ecosystems.

Data-Driven Strategy and Global Transparency

“If you can’t measure it, you can’t manage it” is a cornerstone of Bloomberg Philanthropies’ approach.  Following the data and gathering real, measurable results provides a better understanding of the challenges facing fisheries and coral reefs while supporting the science-based strategies to solve them.

BUILDING MOMENTUM BY WINNING KEY POLICIES AND ACCELERATING ON-THE-GROUND ACTION

Key Strategies and Phase I Successes

  1. Promote transparency → Launched in 2016, Global Fishing Watch is a free online platform with a growing user base that is viewing information about worldwide fishing activity by tracking tens of thousands of commercial fishing vessels. By making fishing data transparent, they are exposing bad actors who fish illegally and allowing citizens and governments everywhere join the fight for healthier seas.
  2. Advance science-based policy → In Phase I, Vibrant Oceans worked with Oceana and Rare to help reform policies to on small-scale and industrial fishing practices and marine area protection in top fishing nations — Brazil, Chile, and the Philippines. In several of these key areas, VO saw a 390% growth in coastal fish populations. These efforts also supported the recovery of the Chilean Jack Mackerel fish population.
  3. Provide key research and data → In 2017, Vibrant Oceans, partnering with The Tiffany & Co. Foundation and Paul G. Allen Philanthropies, set out to identify a global portfolio of the coral reefs projected to be less vulnerable to the impact of climate change and able to help repopulate neighboring reefs. Led by the University of Queensland, the 50 Reefs research identified a greater number of reefs than initially anticipated. Phase II of the Vibrant Oceans Initiative will now include targeted coral reef conservation informed by these findings.
  4. Support local leadership → In the Philippines, Oceana photographed huge boats and nets where they weren’t supposed to be in the Tañon Strait. A national media campaign led to government crackdown and investment in police boats. Oceana has filed dozens of legal cases against offenders and Rare organized mayors around the Tañon Strait who together convinced the federal and state government to fund enforcement in their municipalities.
  5. Drive global understanding and action → In 2018, Bloomberg announced a partnership with Dalio Philanthropies’ OceanX Media to increase ocean understanding and protection. As two of the largest funders of ocean protection and exploration in the world, Bloomberg Philanthropies and OceanX Media supported an expedition to highlight the Northeast Canyon and Seamounts National Marine Monument and advocate for global marine conservation.

Through the Vibrant Oceans Initiative, Bloomberg is protecting critical ocean resources for the health and livelihood of over 3 billion people around the world – helping ensure better, longer lives, for a greater number of people.