What We Fund


Oceans 5 supports results-oriented conservation projects throughout the world.

We prefer time-bound efforts involving multiple organizations working toward common policy objectives. Our work focuses on projects to stop overfishing through fisheries management reforms and to establish marine protected areas (MPAs), among the two highest ecological priorities identified by marine scientists. We are inspired by project opportunities that can bring lasting benefits to coastal communities.

Project Selection Criteria

Oceans 5 will use the following criteria to assess projects for potential funding under its MPA and Fisheries Management portfolios, striving for a diverse portfolio of projects that seek to:

  • MPAs: Maximize the size and effectiveness of a protected area, acknowledging the importance of protecting biodiversity and ecological function; and,
  • Fisheries Management: Maximize the global impact of fisheries management improvements, acknowledging the size and ecological importance of the fisheries as well as the innovation and replicability of the management tools.

Not all Oceans 5 funded projects will meet all criteria. Selection criteria help the organization prioritize projects that advance Ocean 5’s overarching goals of establishing marine protected areas, combating illegal fishing and constraining overfishing.

Global significance, alignment with priorities: Oceans 5 seeks projects that protect globally significant marine resources or establish similarly significant policy precedents. International- and national-level outcomes are preferred over local ones, though there are instances where local impacts carry global significance. All projects should be consistent with portfolio priorities and indicators.

Time-bound, policy-oriented outcomes: Oceans are public property, conveying unique responsibilities to governments for ocean conservation and management. Governments have fundamental obligations in ocean conservation and management. Oceans 5 supports projects with bold policy outcomes that build lasting political and government leadership. We support projects that will result in specific and impactful outcomes.

Collaborative: Oceans 5 is a funders’ collaborative. It seeks projects that reflect collaboration among funders and grantees, whenever appropriate. Collaboration often yields stronger and more lasting outcomes. Collaboration with government agencies is also important, as it helps build lasting capacity to implement outcomes.

Underserved geographies: Historical patterns in marine philanthropy show a disproportionate focus in select geographies. There will be strategic reasons why Oceans 5 will support projects in these areas. However, Oceans 5 also will seek projects in strategically important areas within Asia, Latin America, Africa, or Pacific Island nations which have been underserved by marine philanthropy and may coincide with areas of high biodiversity or ecological functions, including coral reefs. 

Support for Partners, Members: Oceans 5 implements a grantmaking portfolio that aligns with many of its Partners’ and Members’ strategies. The organization seeks to assist its Partners and Members, encouraging collaboration that meets shared goals for marine conservation.

Place-based organizations: Whenever possible, Oceans 5 will seek to support national, indigenous, or local organizations to build global capacity. Grants to large international NGOs should include significant matching requirements to leverage cash and in-kind contributions that support local organizations.