The Monterey Bay Aquarium Foundation is a 501(c)(3) California not-for-profit corporation founded in 1978 with an initial gift from David and Lucile Packard. The Aquarium opened to the public in 1984, and attracts close to two million visitors annually.

The Aquarium's mission is to inspire conservation of the oceans. Key programs include:
  • Living exhibits of marine life from Monterey Bay and beyond
  • Free education programs for more than 80,000 schoolchildren and educators each year
  • Scientific research involving threatened ocean species, including sea otters, tunas and white sharks
  • Seafood Watch, which works to transform the seafood market so it favors sustainable fisheries and fish farming
  • Advocacy efforts to inspire action for ocean conservation and to transform ocean policy