The ocean is vital to the health of the planet – and to everyone and everything on it. It absorbs between 30 and 50% of the carbon dioxide produced by the burning of fossil fuels and it generates 70% of the oxygen that we breathe. Around the world, people rely on healthy oceans as a source of food and to provide jobs and sustain industries such as tourism and aquaculture that are vital for many economies.
But the ocean is under threat from human activities which unsustainably exploit this most precious resource, impacting the marine life that lives within it.
Recognising its importance, the Bertarelli Foundation made protecting the ocean one of its priorities, and today it provides global leadership in marine conservation and science around the world.
Inheriting a love of sailing from their father, and having spent much of their lives on the water, both Ernesto and Dona Bertarelli are particularly aware of the challenges and threats faced by the marine environment. They have seen first-hand the decline of the ocean as a result of unsustainable fishing, irresponsible tourism and uncontrolled development.
That is why they are committed to changing perceptions and behaviours and why the Bertarelli Foundation is working with governmental bodies, NGOs and local communities to create and enforce Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) around the world. To date, the Foundation has supported the protection of more than 2,000,000 km2 of ocean in Pacific and Indian Oceans and in the Caribbean Sea.
The Foundation is also working with leading international marine scientists to gain a better understanding of the protection afforded by MPAs, and the impact they have on the wider health of the ocean. This research will be critical in driving forward the ongoing debate about how best to protect the marine environment and ensure further action by governments around the world.