Research Focus

The Lenfest Ocean Program supports marine research that informs policy decisions about the marine environment. Program staff consult with scientists, stakeholders, and decision makers to identify policy-relevant research questions and develop research projects. We do not accept unsolicited proposals.

The Lenfest Ocean Program focuses on the environmental, economic, and social impacts of fishing, fisheries management, and aquaculture.

Focal Areas:

Fishing Impacts on the Marine Ecosystem

Despite a long history of fishing, relatively little is known about many of the species that we take from the oceans or about the habitat in which they live. The Lenfest Ocean Program invests in research that  improves our understanding of how fishing alters marine ecosystems. Projects include those that explore changes in relationships among ocean species from the loss of predators or prey or that evaluate the impact of non-selective fishing gears on marine species or habitats.     

Economic and Social Impacts of Fishing

Both ecological and socio-economic information help frame fisheries management decisions. The Lenfest Ocean Program invests in research that that investigates both the current and future socioeconomic consequences of different management options. Projects include those that examine how fisheries management affects local and global economies or calculate how fisheries regulations or financial subsidies might change fishing practices. 

Sustainable Fisheries Management

Ineffective fisheries management has resulted in depleted fish populations and degraded marine habitats around the world. The Lenfest Ocean Program supports research that examines how to develop more effective management approaches. These projects may look at the consequences of various management tools or evaluate new approaches in fisheries management.

Sustainable Marine Aquaculture

The impacts of marine aquaculture—the farming of species like salmon, shrimp and tuna—range from sea-bed pollution and coastal habitat degradation to introduction of non-native species and capture of massive quantities of wild fish for fish feed. The Lenfest Ocean Program invests in research that identifies sustainable approaches to marine aquaculture. Projects in this category include those that quantify the effects of aquaculture on the surrounding environment and communities or that identify innovative methods to reduce environmental impacts.