Merlin Entertainments has partnered with marine conservation charity the SEA LIFE TRUST, alongside Merlin’s 50+ SEA LIFE aquariums, to develop a new initiative to expand conservation projects around the world

  • Creation of an all-new global conservation board will expand local conservation projects to other locations around the world
  • Seven projects have been successful in receiving funding as part of Merlin’s commitment to protect the world’s oceans, with activities driving positive impact on marine and freshwater ecosystems, species, and habitats across the globe

Merlin Entertainments today announces the launch of a new conservation programme with its network of over 50+ SEA LIFE aquariums and in partnership with marine conservation charity, the SEA LIFE TRUST.

The new conservation programme initiative will enable teams based at SEA LIFE aquariums across the globe to deliver exciting projects designed to make a positive impact on conservation in their local communities. The board will focus its efforts on saving endangered species, protecting local oceans and freshwater environments, and supporting positive change, with the ultimate ambition to protect the world’s waters and ecosystems for the future.

As part of the conservation programme, seven projects managed by SEA LIFE teams around the world have been successful in receiving funding to cover a full spectrum of conservation issues, spanning across Asia, Australia, the USA and Europe. The seven commissioned projects include a breeding programme for endangered zebra sharks at SEA LIFE Sydney in Australia, to coral reef restoration with the team at SEA LIFE Bangkok in Thailand:

SEA LIFE Sydney Aquarium is playing an integral part in the rollout of the StAR Project (Stegostoma tigrinum Augmentation and Recovery Project) - a world-first, multi-national, collaborative initiative of ReShark, that aims to establish genetically diverse, self-sustaining populations of zebra sharks in marine protected areas of West Papua, Indonesia, to benefit local populations and support healthy marine ecosystems.

As part of this pioneering project, SEA LIFE Sydney Aquarium, one of the project’s “Breeder” facilities, embarked on a rigorous approval process, before the founder shark eggs were shipped on an epic, multi-day transit from Sydney to Raja Ampat, more than 4200 kms, to become the first eggs provided to the StAR Project - a world-first for a shark species recovery program.

SEA LIFE Bangkok Ocean World is collaborating with two organisations based in Krabi to develop a long term, self-sustaining coral reef research and restoration project in the Andaman region of Southern Thailand. This research aims to determine the most effective way to promote reef growth and regeneration suited to this region and create an operational framework that will both promote the resilience of these coastal ecosystems as well as foster engagement and support with the local communities that depend on them.

These two projects are the first of the seven to be established in their locations, with other projects around the world due to announce their developments later this year. More project applications have already been submitted to the Conservation Board for evaluation later this year, where local SEA LIFE teams have the opportunity to receive additional support and the ambition to be replicated at other locations in the future.

Following the announcement of the conservation programme initiative, Chris Brown, Chair of Merlin’s Conservation Board and Head of Marine Programmes and Education for SEA LIFE UK, said:

“We are incredibly proud to support impactful conservation programs that make a real difference to aquatic wildlife and their habitats. Our dedicated teams actively participate in conservation projects around the world. From funding turtle conservation research, to releasing zebra sharks into the wild, to rescuing the endangered native British Crayfish, our aspiration is to protect and restore the underwater world for future generations.”

Graham McGrath, Managing Director of SEA LIFE TRUST, added:

“The SEA LIFE TRUST has marine conservation at its heart, and my ambition is for our charity to continue to raise even more funds to drive impactful conservation projects and programmes around the world as time goes on. Our mission is to protect the world’s oceans and the amazing, diverse marine life that lives within them, so it’s brilliant that the SEA LIFE TRUST is working hand in hand with SEA LIFE and Merlin to make significant and positive differences to our planet’s aquatic habitats.”

“It’s a privilege to be supporting Merlin’s passionate teams around the world in championing change for good as they undertake a range of inspiring and impactful conservation work; from reducing plastic in our oceans to sustainable fishing, to ending over-exploitation of aquatic life and the destruction of natural habitats. Our world’s climate is driven by its oceans, and we are taking action to help Earth stay beautiful for future generations.”

Further information on other projects which are set to receive funding will be provided in the coming weeks and months, at different locations around the world.