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Protecting Our Oceans and the Life They Sustain

November 18, 2021
The Walton Family Foundation is working to improve ocean health amid climate change and overfishing

More than 3 billion people rely on fish for at least 20% of their daily protein intake – and more seafood is exported by developing countries than coffee, cocoa or sugar.

Fish from the ocean take no freshwater to produce and generally have a lower carbon footprint than other animal proteins. But right now, the twin scourges of climate change and overfishing are degrading the world’s largest ecological system, endangering fishing communities and putting at risk one of our most important food sources.

At the Walton Family Foundation, we believe there’s a solution. Restoring global fisheries can be the sustainability success story of the 21st century – and the sustainable seafood movement can create solutions that help nature and people thrive together. Healthy oceans are essential to healthy communities and a healthy planet. The foundation is working to protect oceans by protecting the life within them.

Through our Oceans Initiative, we aim to build a broad, inclusive coalition to support nature-based solutions that improve ocean health, build demand for sustainable seafood, increase incentives for fishers to use nature-friendly practices and advocate for climate-friendly ocean policy.

By taking care of fish, we ensure that Oceans ecosystems – and the people who depend on them – are more resilient.

As part of the foundation’s 2025 Strategy, we are working in 14 focus fisheries important to global supply chains to build the capacity of fishing communities to advocate for better management of the fishery resources they depend on. We’re putting an increased focus, as well, on equity and addressing the social and economic impacts of fisheries management on communities because we believe that the people closest to the problem are also critical to finding solutions.

That’s also why we are working in the three largest import markets for seafood, Japan, the United States and the EU, to build demand for sustainable seafood and create incentives to build a more sustainable seafood industry. Without fish in the oceans, seafood companies can’t exist. When companies commit to sourcing sustainable seafood and invest in improving the health of the fisheries they rely on, together we can protect fish for people and the oceans.

By taking care of fish, we ensure that Oceans ecosystems – and the people who depend on them – are more resilient. Through good management, we know fisheries can recover and help sustain all of us, for generations.

The following graphic provides an overview of the foundation’s theory of change in our Oceans work:

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