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Commitment to Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Justice


Oceana’s mission is to protect and restore the world’s oceans, which are home to most of the life on our planet, play a central role in regulating the world’s natural systems, and provide livelihoods and nutrition to hundreds of millions of people. In carrying out this mission, Oceana seeks opportunities for improving social and environmental justice, recognizing that many marginalized people and groups have been both historically underrepresented in environmental conservation and disproportionately impacted by pollution, climate change,  habitat destruction, and illegal fishing; and in some cases, actually harmed by environmental conservation activities. Oceana is committed to ensuring that diversity, equity, inclusion, and justice are part of our organization’s culture. We are:

Building a diverse workforce and Board of Directors, embracing a broad range of backgrounds, perspectives, and identities with respect to race, ethnicity, color, national origin, age, religion, socioeconomic status, disability, sexual orientation, gender identity, and other characteristics.

– As of 2023, approximately 70% of Oceana employees in the United States identify as women, approximately the same percentage for Oceana’s staff internationally. In terms of race and ethnicity, 22% of our U.S. staff self-identify as people of color; we do not collect this type of data for employees outside of the United States. We are committed to expanding diversity among our U.S. team in particular and have several initiatives underway. Oceana reports the demographic data for its U.S. staff to Green 2.0

– Fifty-seven percent of Oceana’s senior leadership team identify as women and 48% represent countries outside the United States.

– As of 2023, Oceana’s Board of Directors is comprised of 26 individuals from the fields of science, law, philanthropy, entertainment, business, sports, and the arts. Forty percent of our Board are individuals who identify as women and collectively, they hail from nine different countries, including Mexico, Chile, Brazil, Colombia, Nigeria, Spain, Canada, Switzerland, and the United States.

Creating a global organization that is welcoming to all people and ensuring that they feel safe and respected, treated fairly and equitably, and are able to progress in their careers and contribute to the success of Oceana’s mission. To achieve this, we are:

– Expanding our recruitment and retention approaches to increase diversity across all levels of the organization, especially in the United States;

– Monitoring our policies, compensation, and practices to ensure we are providing an inclusive and equitable environment;

– Establishing a baseline of knowledge among our staff about diversity, inclusion, equity and justice topics in general and specifically, for managers, to support them in managing a diverse employee base and in creating an inclusive and equitable environment; and

– Exploring how we can be more inclusive in our campaign planning and execution and more fully understand the equity impacts of our campaigns.

– Committed to hiring staff from the countries in which we campaign for country-level policy change, relying on their experiences, relationships, and cultural understanding to be effective advocates for change. Currently, Oceana has offices in 12 countries, including three in  the European Union.

In our campaigns, Oceana values:

– Partnering with local communities, respecting their Indigenous and cultural knowledge, and their long-term role in stewarding marine ecosystems. Some examples of this work include:

  • In Chile, our team has worked closely with the Kawésqar people to develop a proposal for a marine protected area in Katalalixar to prevent risky salmon aquaculture from expanding to their traditional lands and fishing grounds.
  • In our U.S. campaign to stop new offshore oil drilling, Oceana partnered with people in small towns up and down the Atlantic Coast to make their opposition to drilling visible in Washington, DC. Our Coastal Voices series highlights the people who helped stop the expansion of offshore drilling in U.S. waters.
  • In the Philippines, we are partnering with artisanal fishers and residents to establish a coral-rich marine protected area surrounding Panaon Island.
  • In Canada, Oceana partners with First Nations communities and governments to protect habitat, including co-leading expeditions in Canadian waters to document marine abundance and threats to seamounts.
  • In Alaska, Oceana worked with Native Alaskans and Indigenous peoples to incorporate Local and Traditional Knowledge into maps of Important Ecological Areas, used to guide sustainable Arctic development and conservation.

– Achieving policy changes that will safeguard and restore marine resources while improving the economic and social situations of traditionally disenfranchised people and groups.

  • In Brazil, Oceana campaigned alongside artisanal fishers in Rio Grande do Sul to secure a law that protects the 630-kilometer coast from destructive industrial bottom trawling, helping to protect the livelihoods of more than 20,000 families who rely on these marine resources. Together, Oceana and these artisanal fishers fought to protect the law from threats by the industrial fishing industry, all the way to the Brazil Supreme Court, which upheld the decision in July 2023.
  • In Mexico, Oceana is working with artisanal fishers in coastal states to develop new fisheries legislation that would mandate rebuilding plans for species that communities depend on for food and livelihoods.
  • In Peru, Oceana supported artisanal fishers to secure a new law protecting the first five nautical miles of Peru’s incredibly productive coastal waters from harmful fishing gear. Artisanal fishers provide 80% of the seafood consumed by the people of Peru, are now, these waters are reserved for the 50,000 artisanal fishers who make their livelihoods fishing sustainably.
  • In Belize, Oceana led the People’s Referendum, engaging 30,000 Belizeans to make their position on offshore oil drilling known to the country’s leaders. At 51 polling stations around the country, Belizeans voted overwhelmingly (96%) to “say no to oil,” safeguarding their marine resources and cultural heritage. The Belizean government placed a moratorium on all offshore oil exploration and drilling in 2017, but new leaders are discussing possible drilling. Oceana is once again leading a petition drive on behalf of Belizeans, seeking a Constitutional amendment to give the people of Belize the right to decide if drilling should occur.
  • In the Philippines, Oceana works with artisanal fishers to stop commercial fishing vessels from intruding in municipal waters, which are constitutionally protected for small-scale fishers.