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History and Achievements

Celebrating 25 Years of Protecting the Ocean

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Originally formed in 1989 as an environmental initiative by the Professional Association of Diving Instructors (PADI®), Project A.W.A.R.E. existed to increase environmental awareness through diver education. In 1992, with tremendous support from the dive community, Project AWARE Foundation was registered as an independent 501(c)3 nonprofit organization in the U.S. To further engage divers and activists around  the world in conservation, Project AWARE became an established UK charity in 1999 and received formal nonprofit status in Australia in 2002.

For nearly 25 years, Project AWARE has grown and changed in response to emerging challenges facing the world’s underwater environments. Since 2011, we’ve focused on two top ocean issues where scuba divers are uniquely positioned to influence change - shark and ray conservation and marine debris.

Project AWARE has achieved major successes in protecting marine wildlife and fragile marine habitats through science, education, influence and community action. Our global dive community has  helped us secure a stronger EU finning ban, protect mantas under the Convention on Migratory Species of Wild Animals (CMS) in 2011, extend CMS commitments to devil rays and other sharks in 2014 and in 2016, as well as bring about historic safeguards for highly traded shark and ray species under CITES in 2013. You’ve helped us raise awareness of the global marine debris crisis, rally support from volunteers taking action against trash and collecting data critically needed to supports our ongoing efforts towards finding long term solutions to the Ugly Journey of Our Trash. Your voice and your actions matter.

Today, Project AWARE empowers thousands of divers in more than 180 countries by providing them with the tools, resources and inspiration to take actions - large and small - that contribute to advancing the health of the ocean. Project AWARE is committed to bringing together a worldwide community of divers battling ocean threats where scuba divers are uniquely positioned to directly and positively affect real long-term change - marine debris and shark and ray protection.

Supported by this growing movement, Project AWARE brings your unique underwater perspective and represents your voice, the voice of the dive community, at key ocean conservation fora. Together, we protect the ocean planet - one dive at a time℠.

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Help us shape #TheNextWave of ocean protection
Tell us what ocean issue is most important to you. For 25 years we've worked together to protect our ocean planet. You can help us shape our next wave of action. Choose your top ocean priority. Vote now.