Press Release

Earth Island Institute Statement on Seaspiracy

For four decades, Earth Island Institute has been a leading force for environmental activism and action around the globe. We sponsor a vibrant network of more than 75 projects working in the areas of land and ocean conservation, wildlife protection, energy and climate, women’s environmental leadership, youth environmental leadership, international and Indigenous communities, sustainability and community resilience, and more. Our proud history goes back to our founding by the legendary environmentalist David Brower.

Netflix’s recently released movie, Seaspiracy, makes a number of false claims about Earth Island Institute and two of its projects, the International Marine Mammal Project (IMMP) and the Plastic Pollution Coalition (PPC).

To set the record straight, the film’s accusations that Earth Island is directing PPC, IMMP, or any of its projects to ignore plastic fishing net pollution and funneling money from the global fishing industry to projects are false and reckless. Seaspiracy is spreading baseless conspiracy theories.

With regard to the film’s thrilling follow-the-money reveal, it’s nonsense. IMMP and PPC are fiscally sponsored projects of Earth Island. Fiscal sponsorship is a common and growing practice in the nonprofit sector that promotes efficiency by eliminating the need for multiple nonprofit organizations where one organizational structure can suffice. Under that structure, Earth Island’s projects operate with programmatic autonomy, in accordance with their mission statements. Earth Island works carefully to ensure that all funds are used for the intended charitable purposes. Earth Island is a top-rated charity with the highest possible ratings from charity evaluators for efficiency, financial management, and transparency. As a registered 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization, our financial statements are available to the public.

Both IMMP and PPC were maligned and misrepresented by the filmmakers. IMMP has worked successfully for the conservation of marine mammals for more than three decades, including via the Dolphin Safe tuna program. PPC manages a burgeoning global alliance of activists, small businesses, and nonprofits working to end plastic pollution in all its forms. Both these projects are deeply involved in various efforts to protect our oceans and marine life from the scourge of plastic pollution, including from ghost fishing gear. Both PPC and IMMP have released statements here and here documenting how the filmmakers distorted and mischaracterized their work.

It is regrettable that the filmmakers chose to attack the work of various environmentalists inside and outside of Earth Island. The important issues surrounding the crisis our oceans are facing deserve fair and factual coverage. At Earth Island, we remain committed to continuing our work on these issues, and in supporting the work of our projects that are making a positive impact on our world.