Washington, D.C.

Nov 1, 2011
Outside Magazine

Oceana diver under a wind generator near Lillgrund, Denmark, observing the algae and mussels on the seabed.    Photo: Courtesy of Oceana

BY THE NUMBERS: Since 2001, Oceana’s research and political outreach have helped persuade governments to increase protections for 1.2 million square miles of ocean
WHO'S IN CHARGE: Andrew Sharpless, 56, a Harvard Law and London School of Economics grad who’s held top jobs at RealNetworks, New York City’s ­Museum of Television and Radio, and Discovery.com
WHAT IT DOES: In 1999, several foundations—including the Pew Charitable Trusts and the Rockefeller Brothers Fund—commissioned a study on ocean advocacy and realized that only a tiny fraction of money spent by environmental nonprofits was aimed at ocean protection. Two years later, Oceana was born with a practical mandate: to conduct studies and research, inform lawmakers, and protect degraded oceans through concrete policy. The approach has gotten results. Chile banned shark finning, announced the creation of the world’s fourth-largest no-take marine reserve, and reformed salmon-industry practices to protect wild fish populations. The U.S. also banned shark finning in its coastal ­waters, and Morocco and Turkey outlawed drift nets, already prohibited by the European Union and the United Nations.
EXTRA CREDIT: Oceana can point to dozens of policy victories on four continents in the past ten years. And it’s one of only a few charities to receive a four-star rating from Charity Navigator three years in a row.
LOOKING AHEAD: Oceana has devised a practical road map to wean the U.S. from Gulf of Mexico oil through measures like switching oil-heated homes to electric power and electrifying 10 percent of cars by 2020—a plan that received a grant from the Southern Alliance for Clean Energy last year.