Ocean Health

Our oceans help feed our planet, support millions of jobs around the world, generate trillions of dollars in economic activity every year, and support most of the world’s life.  But from climate change to a range of unsustainable practices like illegal fishing, our oceans are under threat. Left unaddressed, those threats could lead to the collapse of entire ecosystems in the near future, destabilizing global security and threatening the world’s food supply.

That’s why Vulcan has a broad portfolio of projects and investments focused on addressing ocean health through research, innovation, and policy change.

Foundational Data:  The Global FinPrint project aims to create the largest and most comprehensive data-collection and analysis of the world’s populations of reef sharks and rays. The three-year data-collection and analysis initiative is the largest of its size and designed to provide policymakers and conservationists with fundamental data essential to building effective conservation management programs. Since 2014, we have been working with Sea Around Us to create an open platform for their fisheries data that significantly improves access to and better visualization of the research data. We are also supporting their efforts to ensure that governments and NGOs around the world use the data.

Cutting-Edge Technology: Having helped change the way the world communicates more than 40 years ago with the creation of Microsoft, we take the vision set out for us by our founder, Paul Allen, to apply cutting-edge technology to some of the world’s hardest problems. Illegal fishing is a key driver of the decline in ocean health and threatens global security, millions of jobs around the world, and the world’s food supply. Governments and enforcement agencies desperately need better access to actionable data so they can detect and intercept illegal fishing vessels. Our web-based alerting platform, Skylight, brings together data from sea and space to offer a near-real-time view of potential illegal fishing activity, helping governments and maritime enforcement to protect their fisheries and local economies.

Innovative Approaches: We are supporting a human-assisted evolution of coral reef research program at the Hawaii Institute Marine Biology and The Australian Institute of Marine Science and its Sea Simulator. The program identifies naturally resilient coral species and then replants them in the field to advance the regeneration of declining coral reefs.

Closer to home, in partnership with a group of researchers and organizations in the Seattle area, we support the cultivation of seaweed in the Puget Sound as a potential strategy for mitigating ocean acidification.

Public Engagement: Launched by Vulcan in Seattle in July 2015, the Smart Catch programs works with chefs and restauranteurs to increase demand and availability of sustainable seafood We are now working with the James Beard Foundation to transition the program to their impact portfolio and rolling it out nationally.

Through documentaries like Racing Extinction and Ocean Warriors, Vulcan Productions uses powerful storytelling to help audiences understand the effects of climate change and illegal fishing on our oceans and key marine species. The social action campaign that accompanies Racing Extinction aims to inspire audiences to take action and bring about lasting change. The first season of Ocean Warriors is now available on


Working to tackle the world's toughest problems



Working to tackle the world's toughest problems

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