Monterey Bay Aquarium: A benchmark and role model for aquariums everywhere

March 26, 2024

A wild Southern Sea Otter holds a pup in the Monterey Bay Aquarium's Great Tide Pool

Monterey Bay Aquarium is a non-profit public aquarium and an ocean conservation, education, and research center. Since its opening in 1984, the Aquarium, which is one of the largest in the U.S., has been dedicated to showcasing the beauty and importance of our world’s oceans and providing visitors with innovative exhibits and educational programs highlighting marine conservation and the importance of preserving marine ecosystems. Their efforts raise awareness and drive positive change for the health and sustainability of the world’s oceans.

“If there is magic on this planet, it is contained in water.”
– Quote from one of the Monterey Bay Aquarium’s exhibits by Loren Eiseley, an American anthropologist and educator.

Monterey Bay Aquarium has been at the forefront of advocating for policies to combat plastic pollution and protect ocean health for decades. In 2022, the Aquarium contributed to developing and enacting California’s landmark legislation, which mandates single-use plastic packaging and foodware reductions. They have also acted nationally and globally, supporting policies that encourage reusable and refillable systems and participating in international negotiations to end plastic pollution.

Additionally, Monterey Bay Aquarium works to transform the seafood industry’s practices worldwide. Through its Seafood Watch program and their partnerships with suppliers and retailers, they influence purchasing decisions to reduce the demand for overfished species and encourage the adoption of more sustainable practices. This initiative contributes to the preservation of marine biodiversity and promotes the long-term health and sustainability of our oceans.

A father and child marvel at a shark swimming in a Monterey Bay Aquarium’s exhibit

The William H. Donner Foundation has provided more than $400,000 to Monterey Bay Aquarium since 2016, which has helped the Aquarium to serve as a powerful platform for millions of visitors each year, raise awareness about marine issues, and inspire action for ocean conservation.

The William H. Donner Foundation’s most recent contributions in 2022 and 2023 have enabled Monterey Bay Aquarium’s Sea Otter Program to expand its impact and further its mission of sea otter conservation. This funding has facilitated the rescue, rehabilitation, and release of numerous stranded otters. Moreover, through the partnership with the Monterey Bay Aquarium, the William H. Donner Foundation has contributed to groundbreaking research on sea otter population dynamics and ecosystem interactions, providing valuable insights that inform conservation strategies and efforts to reintroduce sea otters to their historical range along the California coast.

Together, the Monterey Bay Aquarium and the William H. Donner Foundation are making significant strides in protecting sea otters and preserving the health and resilience of marine ecosystems for future generations.

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