Press Release

National Geographic Pristine Seas Awarded Grant by Bloomberg Philanthropies

New financial commitment for ocean protection to further advance the goal of protecting 30% of the ocean by 2030.

Photo credit: Enric Sala, Pristine Seas

Photograph by Photo credit: Enric Sala, Pristine Seas

New York, NY (Thursday, September 22, 2022) – Bloomberg Philanthropies announced that it is expanding its commitment to protecting the ocean, coastal communities, and marine ecosystems by launching the Bloomberg Ocean Initiative. This new initiative will invest over $200 million to leverage data-driven solutions, policy solutions, and community involvement to protect coral reefs, stop illegal fishing, and safeguard marine ecosystems and biodiversity that are at risk from the growing impacts of climate change. As one of several new partners in this initiative, the grant will support National Geographic Pristine Seas over the next four years as they support local efforts to increase ocean protections in the Pacific Ocean.

The Bloomberg Philanthropies grant directly supports the Society’s “Ocean” area of focus; one of the five focus areas outlined in the Society’s five-year strategic plan, NG Next.

“We are extremely grateful to Bloomberg Philanthropies for their investment and shared commitment to restoring and protecting the ocean,” said Jill Tiefenthaler, CEO of the National Geographic Society. “This grant will enable the Society to accelerate the critical work of our Pristine Seas program, which continues to work with local communities and country leaders to establish marine protected areas around the world.”

Since 2008, Pristine Seas has worked alongside local communities, Indigenous Peoples, governments and other partners to help create 26 protected marine protected areas across the global ocean, covering a total of 6.5 million square kilometers of ocean - an area more than twice the size of India.

“At Pristine Seas, we are excited to partner with Bloomberg’s Ocean Initiative to help protect vital places in the ocean,” said Enric Sala, National Geographic Explorer in Residence and founder of Pristine Seas. “This decade is humanity’s last best chance to prevent the collapse of our planetary life support system. If we protect at least 30% of the ocean by 2030, then there is a chance that the ocean will continue to provide for us forever.”

Through the power of exploration, research and storytelling, the Pristine Seas team engages with governments and local communities on the importance and significant benefits of marine protected areas. Indigenous Peoples and local communities and key partners are vital to ensuring that the process of creating and managing a marine protected area is developed by and owned by the community. Pristine Seas aims to target three new areas for protection every year.

“This grant allows Pristine Seas to continue to provide countries and local communities with the assistance and support they need to create marine protected areas and achieve their ocean conservation and economic goals,” said Sala.

The National Geographic Society allocates 100% of all grants received and funds raised to bolster its priorities and mission-driven efforts, including investing in its Explorer-led programs like Pristine Seas.



National Geographic Pristine Seas is an exploration, research and media project founded and led by National Geographic Explorer in Residence Enric Sala. The Pristine Seas team is comprised of determined scientists, policy experts and filmmakers who work to inspire the creation of protected areas where marine life can thrive—while ensuring effective management for years to come. Pristine Seas has helped to inspire the creation of 25 marine reserves, an area totalling over 6.5M square kilometers. Learn more at

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About The National Geographic Society

The National Geographic Society is a global nonprofit organization that uses the power of science, exploration, education and storytelling to illuminate and protect the wonder of our world. Since 1888, National Geographic has pushed the boundaries of exploration, investing in bold people and transformative ideas, providing more than 15,000 grants for work across all seven continents, reaching 3 million students each year through education offerings, and engaging audiences around the globe through signature experiences, stories and content.

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