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Our Programs|  We Intend To Make a Difference

Our marine conservation movement promotes appreciation, understanding and preservation of our natural oceans, marine ecosystems and marine wildlife with a particular emphasis on cetaceans (whales, dolphins and porpoises).

Ocean Relief & Marine Conservation

The oceans, their inhabitants and their beneficiaries are in danger of over fishing, acidification and marine habitat destruction. Vantive contributes to international efforts aimed at alleviating these and other problems through policy-oriented campaigns.

  • Ocean Pollution Remediation
    The oceans have become a hidden dumping ground. Mercury emitted by land-based manufacturing plants is absorbed into our seafood with serious consequences for fish and human health. Volumes of concentrated fish waste from offshore fish farming despoils sea floor habitat by snuffing out oxygen and depleting food sources. Oil spills, for which there is no reliable cleaning mechanism, continue to occur with near predictable frequency, and the global shipping fleet emits tons of carbon into the atmosphere with no regulations. Vantive considers each of these issues imperative for ocean relief and marine conservation.

  • Marine Wildlife Preservation
    Many marine species are at serious risk from over fishing, harmful fishing methods and climate change. Destructive fishing methods such as bottom trawling destroy more than 18 billion pounds of fish and kill countless marine mammals every year while at the same time devastating ocean habitat like coral reefs and seamount's that can take decades or centuries to recover. Vantive contributes to causes which work to ensure that fish are harvested from the ocean at sustainable rates (based on science) and to protect habitats by significantly reducing bycatch and its effects on the marine ecosystem.

    Endangered sea turtles are caught unintentionally, as bycatch, while advanced fishing technologies such as new long lines, trawls, gill nets and dredges kill thousands of turtles and injure even more each year. Vantive campaigns to save sea turtles are dedicated to the protection and restoration of sea turtle populations in the world's oceans. Vantive contributes to campaigns which work to reduce sea turtle bycatch in fisheries, protect sea turtle habitat and develop legislation to protect sea turtles.

    Shark populations are plummeting as they are killed for their meat, fins and liver oil and sharks now represent the greatest percentage of threatened marine species on the IUCN Red List of threatened species. As apex predators, sharks play a critical role in maintaining the natural health of marine ecosystems. Despite their fearsome reputation, sharks are slow-growing, late-maturing, long-lived and give birth to few young, making them extremely vulnerable to overexploitation. The loss or material reduction of sharks will have devastating effects and result in unpredictable consequences for ocean ecosystems. Vantive seeks to contribute to international efforts aimed at protecting and restoring shark populations. Through policy, science, legal and public communications efforts, Vantive contributes to the pursuit of true shark finning bans, species-specific shark management and reduced shark bycatch.

    Coveted seafood species including tuna and salmon are threatened by massive over fishing. Bluefin tuna are the most valuable fish in the world, coveted for their fatty belly meat, and used in sushi such as toro or maguro. In 2009, a single bluefin tuna was auctioned for more than $100,000 in Tokyo. As a consequence of growing international demand and unmanaged regulatory protective constraints, the incentives are overwhelming for fishermen to drive bluefin toward extinction. The International Commission for the Conservation of Atlantic Tunas (ICCAT) estimates that as few as 25,000 individual mature bluefin tuna remain. Over fishing, loss of natural prey and tuna ranching combine to create the perfect storm which threatens bluefin tuna.

    Corals reefs, sea mounts and sponges are increasingly threatened by bottom trawls, ocean acidification and climate change. Corals and sponges are living animals that form sensitive sea floor structures which provide the foundation for marine ecosystems. Coral reefs provide shelter, a haven from currents and predators, and protective areas for breeding, spawning, nursing, feeding and resting for fish and plethora of marine species. Deep sea corals and sponges may also be important for pharmaceuticals and biotechnology advancement. Deep sea species are being tested to produce antibiotics, pain killers and medications for cancer, AIDS, asthma and heart disease. However, slow growing and incredibly sensitive to disturbance, deep sea corals that are plowed over or damaged by bottom trawling may not recover for centuries, if at all.

More than a billion people in the world depend on fish as a key source of protein. Fishing activities support coastal communities and hundreds of millions of people. Yet nearly all of the world’s fish populations are being rapidly depleted to unrecoverable levels by over fishing. Still, many governments continue to give their fleets large subsidies that allow them to fish longer, harder and farther away than would be otherwise possible. The impact of these subsidies is so great that eliminating them is the single greatest action that can be taken to protect the world’s oceans. The World Trade Organization (WTO) is the 153-country entity based in Geneva, Switzerland that sets the rules for international trade. Since 2001, it has been engaged in a dedicated negotiation on fisheries subsidies as part of its Doha trade round. Vantive contributes to campaigns which work to establish the international recognition and political commitment needed to produce new trade rules from the WTO that effectively control fisheries subsidies.

Grant Programs

There are grantmaking principles that underlay Vantive’s grantmaking practices. Among them are the Foundation’s commitment to:

  • Identify the best ideas and the top intellectual leaders in its areas of marine conservation focus;
  • Make certain that the leaders of the institutions that Vantive supports are both exceptional and fully committed to the proposed work;
  • Remain focused in the areas of emphasis while retaining flexibility to respond, within its programs, to unusual situations and emergencies;
  • Serve as an institution partner rather than as only a source of narrowly defined project grants;
  • Support causes with long time horizons, where needed;
  • Encourage grantees to address the sustainability of their initiatives;
  • Foster collaborations among grantees, funders and other influential contributors, where useful; and
  • Listen carefully to the leadership within the fields in which Vantive works to support emergent needs.

The Foundation aims to support grantees within its program parameters and to do so in a transparent and responsible manner.





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"Ships account for over 1 billion tons of CO2e annually, or around 3% of global anthropogenic emissions, in addition to being a major emitter of other pollutants such as SOx, NOx, Particulate Matter and Soot (that contains black carbon).





"Scientists with NOAA and other agencies are also beginning to link expanding hypoxic or low-oxygen ‘dead zones’ in the world’s oceans not only to nutrient runoff from farms and cities but also to climate change. As ocean surface temperatures rise (and they were the highest ever recorded in summer 2009) they create a thermal cap that makes it harder for the natural circulation of deep ocean water to the surface where its re-oxygenated by contact with the atmosphere."

~ excerpt from the Blue Notes #71 newsletter by David Helvarg of the Blue Frontier Campaign.