Minderoo Foundation launches $100 million ocean research initiative

Minderoo Foundation chairman Andrew Forrest
Minderoo Foundation chairman Andrew Forrest

Australian philanthropic group the Minderoo Foundation has announced the launch of a AU$100 million (US$74 million) Minderoo Ocean Research initiative to help study and protect global marine life.

The donation will be invested in new efforts to track global fishing patterns, fund research into ocean plastics pollution, and develop a research facility at Exmouth near Australia’s Ningaloo Reef to study the migration of sea life through the Indian Ocean.

Minderoo plans to partner with a range of institutions to establish globally impactful interventions in the marine conservation space, and has established informal collaborations with groups including the Sea Around Us, University of Western Australia’s Marine Futures Lab, Global Fishing Watch and WWF Australia.

Pangaea Ocean Explorer, a deep-water marine research vessel owned by Minderoo owners the Forrest family, will be loaned to marine conservation efforts.

The Australian federal government’s management plans for 44 Australian marine parks are currently before the senate. Four hundred thousand square kilometres of ocean will lose their IUCN II (no extraction) zoning under the plans, a potential benefit for Australia’s commercial fishermen, which operate under some of the strictest regulations in the world.

Minderoo has joined a coalition of ocean ambassadors to oppose the plans.

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