ALL ISSUES    |    SUMMER 2016
Kelp forest in the wild

Julie Packard
Director's Note

Julie Packard, Executive Director

While Monterey Bay's waters are protected, they're connected to the global ocean and vulnerable to all the threats facing the ocean worldwide. Today, the impacts of climate change from our unchecked burning of fossil fuels are transforming the ocean and threatening the integrity of the living systems that sustain life on Earth.

Our original exhibit focus was largely local. Today, we work around the world to secure the health of the ocean for future generations. I'm proud of the many ways that the Aquarium has become a recognized global leader in ocean conservation, and I'm so grateful for your support.

We're approaching the task on many fronts. Our fabulous new special exhibition, ¡Viva Baja! Life on the Edge, displays incredible marine animals from the Gulf of California and tells important conservation stories about the growing movement to protect the region's living resources. Our research and policy teams are collaborating with scientists, conservation groups and the government in Mexico to make a difference for marine life there—from fisheries reform to studying white sharks in coastal waters.

We've also stepped up our actions to address climate change and its effects on ocean health. We're speaking out in California, where the state has taken a leading role on this issue, and are working with Monterey Peninsula communities to adapt to the unavoidable impacts of climate change.

For our own part, our planned Center for Ocean Education and Leadership is designed to meet U.S. Green Building Council LEED Gold standards for sustainability, including solar panels, passive solar heating and a living roof. Not only will we be able to double the impact of our education programs—we'll do so in a building that delivers messages about environmental responsibility.

Learn more about our climate commitments on our website and in the Future of the Ocean blog, where we regularly share updates about our conservation research and ocean policy programs.

We're tackling the ubiquitous plastic pollution that fouls beaches and finds its way into ocean food webs across the globe. We championed California legislation that became the model for a new federal law phasing out plastic microbeads from personal care products. We joined earlier this year with the California Latino Legislative Caucus for a Sacramento briefing on the effects plastic pollution is having on the state's freshwater and ocean waters. And we're backing the statewide campaign to uphold California's ban on single-use plastic shopping bags.

We're able to reach out from Monterey Bay to the world—and make a difference—all because of your help and support. Many thanks for all you make possible!

Internationally, we're regarded more than ever as a trusted voice in the sustainable seafood movement. With our business partners, we're helping shift aquaculture production overseas in more ocean-friendly directions through alliances with peer organizations around the world and by working directly with major producers in Southeast Asia and other regions.

We worked with the Obama Administration to inform new U.S. laws and policies that ban the import of seafood caught using illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing methods. And, because of our expertise in convening high-level gatherings, we hosted a first-ever symposium of bluefin tuna experts to chart a path toward sustainability for a species that is both iconic and a vital player in global ocean ecosystems.