ALL ISSUES     |     FALL 2017
Pelagic cormorant landing on Monterey Bay

Julie Packard
Director's Note

Julie Packard, Executive Director

Ocean issues are global in scope, which is why the Aquarium has been working at an international scale for many years through our policy initiatives, our seafood programs and our conservation research. As I meet with ocean advocates around the world, it's clear that we have a unique and valuable role to play. And, our voice is being heard.

This summer, I attended the first-ever United Nations Ocean Conference as a member of our Monterey Bay Aquarium team, to listen, meet with delegates and call for action on three critical fronts: environmental and social sustainability of global fisheries and aquaculture; steps to address the causes and impacts of climate change and ocean acidification; and new commitments to reduce the flow of plastic pollution from land to sea.

Our participation led to tangible, positive results. We heard from many attendees that the Aquarium's presence—and our ideas—had a real impact.

As the conference closed, the UN's 193 member nations unanimously approved a global call to action that mirrors our own ocean goals when they agreed "to act decisively and urgently [for ocean health]."

Meanwhile, our science team is engaged in two far-ranging projects—both involving our partners at the Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute (MBARI). MBARI is helping us document whether plastic pollution in the North Pacific is reaching critical migration corridors used by marine wildlife. And it's helping develop camera tags we'll deploy this year in hopes of learning why white sharks from California migrate far offshore each year.

Here in the United States, we're championing a new collaboration among 19 top aquariums to phase out single-use plastic. We've eliminated all single-use plastic items from our cafe and restaurant, and reduced plastic packaging in our Gift & Bookstore locations. You can read more about the Aquarium Conservation Partnership here.

Close to home, we're in the midst of two significant construction projects. Our new Bechtel Family Center for Ocean Education and Leadership is fast taking shape on Cannery Row, thanks to your generous support. By early 2019, our education staff will be moving into their new home and preparing programs that will serve more students, teachers and emerging teen leaders.

And, we've started work on expanding the Animal Care Center so we can continue to provide exceptional care to the animals here at the Aquarium, and to support research that protects vulnerable ocean wildlife. Our veterinarian, Dr. Mike Murray, shares his thoughts about this important work here. I hope you'll contribute to our campaign so we can take our animal care to a new level of excellence and help advance the field of wildlife medicine.

We're doing so much more, including forging new Seafood Watch business partnerships with fast-growing, meal-delivery companies like Blue Apron and HelloFresh. These and other partnerships leverage the buying power of major businesses to move fishing and aquaculture in more sustainable directions. We've also developed tools that help businesses take steps to mitigate human rights abuses in their supply chains.

Because new developments arise so rapidly, I'm now sharing ocean news and updates about the Aquarium's ocean conservation initiatives on Twitter (@JuliePackard). I hope to see you there!

My deepest thanks to each of you. We've come so far in the past 33 years because you believe in our mission: to inspire conservation of the ocean. With your help, we'll do so much more in the year ahead.