State of the Ocean

Meridian Capital Limited supports a sustainable eco-tourism approach through Meridian Adventure.

The ocean is the lifeblood of the planet. It covers 70% of world’s surface, regulates climates and absorbs half the carbon produced. It produces 50% of the world’s oxygen and accounts for 80% of global biodiversity.

The ocean is also the mainstay of human existence, with 100 million households deriving their income from the fishing industry and three billion people relying on seafood as their main source of protein.

But the Earth’s oceans are fast becoming degraded amidst issues like overfishing, environmental damage, plastic pollution and the effect of climate change. Fortunately through funding, technology and collaboration, there is a massive global movement to protect one of the planet’s most valuable resources.

At Meridian Adventure, a dynamic eco-tourism company funded by Meridian Capital Limited, there is an active drive to build awareness about the importance of ocean conservation in the region, through its staff and equally with its client base.

Lead by veteran captain, Sean Galleymore, Meridian Adventure has grown into one of the most revered high-end, experience-driven eco-tourism operators in the south east Asia pacific region.

The ocean sustainability programs that have been instituted by Meridian Adventure engage employees and the local community to work together to support initiatives such as regular Mangrove Clean-Ups, Crown of Thorns removal days, Dive against Debris and Ocean Datasharing.

Galleymore notes, “Meridian Adventure actively tries to engage and empower staff, guests and the community to play their role in ocean conservation. Our dive team have been trained in the correct method of thorn removal and we have three removal kits at the resort. Alongside monitoring dive sites for Crown of Thorns that are growing, we also collaborate with other dive re- sorts and local government in Raja Ampat to share data we collect with the Raja Ampat Sea Centre ( Each initiative is part of our larger view that builds on sustainable tourism practices: that we are guests in the world and should leave a limited impact on our environment and protect it for future generations.”

“As an eco-tourism company that takes guests to explore unspoilt ocean outposts and with a base in one of the last coral nurseries, we have actively tried to build up awareness about the ocean crisis. We encourage an appreciation for the ocean as our lifeblood and support change, not only in large programs, but also through training on small and manageable ways to limit one’s footprint and leave a positive impact in the environment in which we operate.” Askar Alshinbayev, Principal at Meridian Capital Limited.

“Our individual passion for the ocean at Meridian Capital Limited has seen us invest in businesses that allow guests to explore some of the most beautiful and untouched locations that few people have visited. We believe that if people get the chance to see the ocean as it should be, it is a compelling reason to protect and preserve its beauty.” Yevgeniy Feld, Principal at Meridian Capital Limited. “Indonesia sits in an interesting space having incredible ocean diversity in some areas and being highly affected by ocean debris and pollution in other areas at the same time. As such, it is key we act to protect where we can. Raja Ampat, where Meridian Adventure is based, offers limited infrastructure for large scale programs and as such we have worked with our employees and the local community to champion sustainable tourism and ocean conservation leaving a limited footprint where we and our guests travel.”

The Rise of Ocean Philanthropy

Guardians of the oceans

Over the past decade, public and private funding for ocean preservation has increased exponentially. The David and Lucille Packard Foundation’s 2017 report on ocean funding stated: “During 2015, roughly US$800 million in grant funding was directed toward ocean conservation. Half of those funds originated from foundations, primarily in the United States and half those funds came in the form of official development assistance grants from bilateral and multilateral aid agencies.”

The foundation’s research did not include individual contributions and contributions from foundations outside the United States, but still showed that philanthropic contributions directed towards ocean funding grew between 2010 and 2015, rising from US$252 million to US$399 million.

Private funders like Gordon and Betty Moore, the Packard foundation, the Walton family, Marisla, Helmsley Charitable Trust, Oak Foundation and the Waitt foundation have ploughed hundreds of millions of dollars into ocean philanthropy. Supporting them are public funders such as the Wildlife Conservation Society, the Blue Moon Fund and the Global Environmental Facility. In 2016 the combined contribution of these private funders totalled US$1 billion which went towards supporting ocean science, conservation and management, according to Philanthropy News Digest.

Ocean philanthropy is increasingly becoming more strategic, as money is directed to specific target areas. Illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing is a primary focus, as is improving seafood management and supply through seafood markets. Other preferred areas of funding included science, protected areas, coastal issues, communications and education, policy, and capacity building. Lesser investments include illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing, aquacultures, livelihoods, pollution and marine debris, as well as ocean acidification.

Although most of this funding is coming from United States-based donors, who contributed nearly US$500 million between 2010 and 2014, smaller contributions are flowing in from other global countries. Interestingly the biggest contribution from an individual country, after the United States, is Mexico. The country contributed US$70 million, ahead of Europe which came in at US$66 million.

Collaboration and innovation

Although global funding is greatly skewed, world leaders have begun talking about ways to protect the world’s oceans. Global collaboration was highlighted during discussions about ocean protection at the World Economic Forum’s (WEF’s) 2019 annual Davos meeting, where critical issues around ocean survival were identified. Key threats included climate change and warming oceans, acidification, overfishing, degradation of ocean ecosystems and environments, and plastic pollution.

In order to tackle these issues, calls were made for greater country and industry collaboration. The WEF responded by launching the WEF Ocean Action Agenda project, which offers a platform for key industries to work together with government, civil society, and the scientific community. According to the WEF: “This unprecedented multi-stakeholder coalition seeks to improve ocean management by exploring cross-cutting opportunities and leveraging new technologies to scale promising solutions.”

This collaborative approach will enable the project to work across all aspects of ocean preservation, and it seeks to hold all parties accountable for their role in ocean degradation.

The WEF is also focused on using technology to advance this agenda. Potential exists, says the WEF, to collect data via sensors carried by ships, ocean drones, satellites and even fishing nets and surfboards. But this data had to be properly utilised. The hope is that all stakeholders will share data and collaborate to combat issues around illegal fishing, and other ocean crimes.

Meridian Adventure Race calls for passionate advocates to join the movement against ocean plastic.

Meridian Adventure, a global eco-tourism company, is funded by Meridian Capital Limited, is passionate about empowering people to appreciate the beauty of the ocean and to protect and preserve it for future generations. Its strapline is “One Ocean. One Planet. One Community.” and it asks people to “Join the movement”.

Their latest initiative, Meridian Adventure Race, is called Epic Blue, which is an epic challenge for those with adventurous spirit, that is set against the backdrop of some of the most extraordinary destinations in the world.”

Pushing the limits of human endurance, Meridian Adventure Race creates opportunities where passionate athletes can explore the boundaries of human movement and test their personal limits and in so doing show their commitment to the environment.

Hope on the Horizon: Indonesian Ocean Crisis

Indonesia: Collaborating for change

Indonesia is an area both celebrated and criticised for its ocean beauty and management. Recent research has shown however that is also the one country that has successfully used the WEF approach to collaboration, while simultaneously adopting a more technological approach to fixing the oceans. The country comprises more than 10 000 islands and fishing contributes 15% to its GDP. In 2014 Indonesia tackled issues with overfishing, slavery, plastic pollution and mass illegal fishing head-on by using technology. Although initially criticized as a gimmick, the country has seen an 80% drop in foreign vessels in its waters and local fishermen have seen improved fishing conditions. Apart from sinking illegal vessels, it’s Indonesia’s adoption of open data and technology sharing, as well as its partnership with open data transparency forum Global Fishing Watch, that has made the biggest impact, thus highlighting the case for collaboration.

Fight Against Plastic & Dive Against Debris: Meridian Adventure

Sean Galleymore, founder of Meridian Adventure, an innovative eco-tourism company focused on creating experiential ocean adventures for guests that is funded by Meridian Capital Limited, has adopted sustainable practices through the Meridian Adventure Resort in Raja Ampat. The resort aims towards a zero-plastic philosophy in place: limiting single-use plastics and being committed to ocean clean-up initiatives that limit ocean plastic pollution.

“We promote the use of reusable steel straws, reusable non-plastic bags and reusable non-plastic water bottles. A collection bag is kept on each dive boat and as far as possible we collect any plastic floating on the way and back from dive sites and during our dives. We are offering guest the opportunity to take these bags on their dives if they wish to collect any trash found during the dive. We work closely with local divers and government to host Dive Against Debris events. During the last event more than 270kg of debris was collected from beaches and the Dive Against Debris dive. We are aiming at hosting a monthly collaboration with the local government and divers. Data on the dive and types of debris collected is submitted to the PADI Dive Against Debris data base.”

  • April 2019