Leonardo DiCaprio Donates $2 Million to Create Marine Reserves and Stop Illegal Fishing

Jordan Strauss/Invision/AP

The actor's funds will help protect the Pacific Islands and the Arctic, while improving fisheries enforcement in Europe, the U.S. and Central America

Oceans 5, an international environmental collective, announced Thursday that Leonardo DiCaprio's foundation is donating $2 million to help stop illegal fishing and establishing marine reserves in the world’s five oceans.

The actor's donation to the collective comes on top of a $3 million grant he announced earlier this year to Oceana's effort to protect sharks, marine mammals and key ocean habitats in the Eastern Pacific. At a State Department conference on marine conservation in June, DiCaprio said his foundation would contribute $7 million to a variety of marine conservation initiatives over the next 24 months.

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“The sad truth is that less than two percent of our oceans are fully protected," DiCaprio said on Thursday. "We need to change that now."

DiCaprio’s Oceans 5 grant will assist in the development of future initiatives and will directly support beneficiaries including: a new coalition of four conservation groups, working to strengthen controls on illegal fishing in the European Union, the world’s largest seafood market; a local organization in the Republic of Kiribati, working to implement the world’s fourth-largest marine reserve, located in the Central Pacific; a coalition of three organizations working to improve fisheries enforcement in Costa Rica, Panama, Colombia and Ecuador, including construction of a radar facility on Cocos Island; a group of Cook Islanders working to create a marine park within a territory that is three times the size of California; and several organizations working to create Arctic marine reserves in Canada, Greenland and Russia.

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The actor called Oceans 5 "an exciting new platform for marine conservation." Founded in 2011, the "collaborative philanthropy" is comprised of eight foundations who "share a common inspiration for results-oriented grantmaking." Its members and partners include: the Rockefeller Philanthropy Advisors, the Oak Foundation, Planet Heritage Foundation, Marisla Foundation, Waitt Foundation, Moore Charitable Foundation, Angell Family Foundation and now, DiCaprio's foundation.

“Oceans 5 is about making a difference for future generations," said Ted Waitt, founder and chairman of the California-based Waitt Foundation. "Leo and his foundation bring a strategic focus to helping coastal communities protect biodiversity. It is a strong addition to our group.”

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