Project AWARE Foundation Board of Directors Launch a Challenge for the Ocean

Major $150,000 Challenge Grant to address two global ocean crises

Rancho Santa Margarita, California – In a special Project AWARE Foundation event held at PADI (Professional Association of Dive Instructors) headquarters, California, USA, Project AWARE Foundation chairman of the board, Dr. Drew Richardson and board members, Roger McManus and Jenny Miller Garmendia, announced that the Challenge for the Ocean Grant to address two major ocean issues – sharks in peril and marine debris.

“We are committing with this worldwide army of business and political leaders, professional and accomplished people from all walks of life, to band together as never before and reverse the trends of ocean health,” says Roger McManus, International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) and Project AWARE board member.

In a demonstration of great support, Project AWARE Foundation supporters have already committed nearly 85 percent of the $50,000 challenge which, when matched 1:2, will provide a total of $150,000 toward ocean protection initiatives worldwide.

The Project AWARE event, held Saturday, November 12th, titled Artisans of the Sea, featured the support and donated artwork by three world renowned marine artists, Wyland, Rogest and Blu Rivard. Silent auction proceeds support AWARE’s two major ocean initiatives.

During the event, each artist as well as Foundation board members encouraged the scuba diving community to not only put their signatures behind the shark initiative, but also financially support the Foundation to help meet the challenge match.

McManus urged, “Don’t look at this as charity, look at it as an investment in the future. And please, treat it like any other investment. Expect and demand results. Be part of the success in saving the ocean.”

To date more than 83,000 shark petition signatures have been gathered to bolster the statement that shark species listings with CITES (Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species) are absolutely necessary to protect shark species facing extinction. During the next parties to CITES meeting, March 2013, Project AWARE aims to gain a majority vote to list critical shark species and deliver a dramatic increase in shark protection worldwide.

The second initiative centered on marine debris prevention is an ongoing focus of the Foundation. Challenge Grant support will help implement the newly developed Honolulu Strategy: a global framework for the prevention and the management of marine debris.  By providing an underwater perspective on the impacts of marine debris, we’ll implement actions to reduce waste, improve waste management practices and prevent debris from entering the ocean.

To participate in the Challenge Grant contact Project AWARE Foundation. To sign the shark petition and join the movement to protect our ocean planet visit projectaware.org.