Google Founder Eric Schmidt and his wife, who have already invested both time and money in ocean health issues, presented a $10 million gift to the Monterey Bay Aquarium to support their program that pushes for globally sustainable seafood.
With the grant, the aquarium will be able to expand collaborations with food industry leaders and other key players to transform the way seafood is caught and farmed worldwide.
Since its inception as a consumer-based program in 1999, the aquarium’s Seafood Watch program has become the most respected source of science-based information about sustainable seafood for major North American buyers and – increasingly – for global fisheries and aquaculture producers far beyond U.S. shores.
As part of the effort, the grant will allow the Seafood Watch program to work more effectively on urgent global seafood challenges, like advancing seafood traceability to enable buyers to purchase more seafood from sustainable sources.
“We have made remarkable progress in the last few years, changing perceptions and practices among business and the public,” said aquarium Executive Director Julie Packard. “While we’ve seen tremendous progress in recovery of U.S. fisheries, so much more needs to be done globally to ensure food security and healthy oceans for the future.”
“Eric and I are delighted to provide the resources that will allow the Seafood Watch program to expand internationally, and help ensure that fisheries across the world have access to the kind of information that will allow them to employ practices that protect the health of our oceans,” said Wendy Schmidt, co-founder with her husband of The Schmidt Family Foundation and The Schmidt Ocean Institute.
In 2009, the Schmidts created the Schmidt Ocean Institute, and in 2012 launched the research vessel, Falkor, as a mobile platform to advance ocean exploration, discovery, and knowledge, and catalyze sharing of information about the oceans.
In keeping with the couple’s commitment to ocean health issues, Mrs. Schmidt has partnered with XPRIZE to sponsor the $1.4 million Wendy Schmidt Oil Cleanup XCHALLENGE, awarded in 2011, and the Ocean Health XPRIZE, a prize that will respond to the global need for better information about the process of ocean acidification. It will be awarded this year.