The New England Aquarium's Marine Conservation Action Fund (MCAF) aims to protect and promote ocean biodiversity through funding of small-scale, time-sensitive, community-based programs.

MCAF is a unique and effective micro-funding program that funds seven to ten projects per year that have proved effective to solve indigenous problems with wide implications for ocean and marine animal health—from saving river dolphins in Pakistan to creating a marine mammal stranding network in Iran to protecting manta rays in Peru and Sri Lanka.

Since its founding in 1999, MCAF has funded more than 120 key projects around the world, administered by conservation leaders who are catalyzing positive change for the ocean. The Aquarium develops enduring relationships with these programs to foster their continued growth.

MCAF is made possible by the generosity of the Oak Foundation, the Curtis and Edith Munson Foundation and individual donors. MCAF’s advisory board is made up of Aquarium scientists and internationally known experts who donate their time to review proposals and guide MCAF’s funding decisions.


Download the Latest MCAF Newsletter

Get the latest about MCAF, including new projects to tag giant mantas off of Mexico and collect tiny hydroids from the Sargasso Sea. PDF .5 MB




Some Projects Supported by MCAF


Protecting sawfish in Mozambique

With funding from MCAF, Protect Africa’s Sawfishes project is collecting baseline information on the historical and current presence of sawfishes throughout Africa. So far, the project has worked with local partners in five African countries: Senegal, The Gambia, Guinea-Bissau, Liberia and, most recently, in Mozambique. Read more.



Tagging sharks in St. Croix

MCAF funds a pilot study to track sharks around Buck Island Reef National Monument in St. Croix, U.S. Virgin Islands. Read more.




Net Positiva gets investment from Patagonia

An MCAF-funded project to turn derelict fishing gear in Chile into skateboards attracts seed money from Patagonia. Read more.




Scroll through posts about all the projects MCAF supports here.

For funding inquiries, please send a paragraph about your project along with an approximate budget to the MCAF Manager. MCAF awards range from $3,000 to $10,000.

Elizabeth Stephenson
Marine Conservation Action Fund Manager
Global Marine Programs
New England Aquarium
Central Wharf
Boston, MA 02110