ALL ISSUES     |     SPRING 2019
Seahorse at the Monterey Bay Aquarium

Julie Packard

Julie Packard, Executive Director

Although the pace of change is faster than ever, I'm proud of the fact that the Aquarium is keeping up—and making a difference—on the great challenges facing the ocean. From climate change and plastic pollution, to sustainable global fisheries and aquaculture, we're making real progress. With the opening this spring of our Bechtel Family Center for Ocean Education and Leadership, we're poised to dramatically increase our impact on ecosystem-based science education in California as well.

Thank you for your support, and for embracing the vision that makes us not just the most respected and engaging aquarium in the country, but an ocean conservation organization that's having an impact around the globe.

When world leaders convened in San Francisco for the Global Climate Action Summit, the ocean was on the agenda for the first time in a meaningful way, in large part because of the efforts of our ocean policy team. Speaker after speaker acknowledged the critical role a healthy ocean will play in climate solutions. Read more about the Summit and our role in advancing ocean issues.

Our Seafood Watch program turns 20 this year, and we're doing more than ever to shift global fisheries and aquaculture in more sustainable directions. We made two key announcements at the Our Ocean Conference in Bali, Indonesia that reflect the remarkable success of our work in Southeast Asia with former Secretary of State John Kerry and the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace.

The leading seafood producers in Vietnam committed to shifting 20,000 family-owned shrimp farms in the Mekong Delta to meet Seafood Watch Best Choice standards by 2025. And Chicken of the Sea—North America's largest shrimp importer, and a subsidiary of the world's largest seafood producer—will invest more than $70 million to support sustainability improvements in production of shrimp and crab for the world market. These significant commitments reflect the international respect our seafood program now garners.

In California, we celebrated passage of two Aquarium-supported bills that will reduce the tide of plastic pollution flowing into the ocean. Sit-down restaurants will now serve straws only upon request. And, in November, the state observed #NoStrawNovember—a movement sparked by Aquarium Teen Conservation Leader Shelby O'Neil to get people thinking about ways to cut back on single-use plastic.

We're collaborating with colleagues in a nationwide Aquarium Conservation Partnership, using our influence—and our buying power—to tackle plastic pollution and other threats to ocean health. We dramatized the issue last fall by installing a life-sized blue whale made out of recycled plastic at San Francisco's Crissy Field.

Our Education staff will soon move into the Bechtel Center, their new home on Cannery Row, and will host the first teacher and teen programs this summer. I hope to see you at an upcoming open house event once they get settled.

We're also collaborating in new and exciting ways with our colleagues at the Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute to make a difference for the future of the ocean. I shared some of our vision in October, when we honored Bill Gates with our third David Packard Award, recognizing his commitment, as a business leader and a philanthropist, to make people's lives better around the world.

Your generosity makes all of this work possible, and will make a difference for the future of the ocean. Thank you so much.