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.


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Read coverage of MCAF in The New York Times.


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.


Download the Latest MCAF Newsletter

Get the latest news about MCAF, including a huge victory for manta rays in Peru, secret sawfishes of the Philippines, elusive devil rays and MCAF’s new fellows program. 


You Can Help Support MCAF:

We are deeply grateful for the generous support of donors who help make it possible for MCAF to support small-scale, high impact projects around the globe. If you would like to support the work of MCAF, there are two ways to donate.

Checks can be made out to the New England Aquarium with "MCAF" specified in the note or memo on the check.

Checks may be sent to:

Jen Pires
Development Department
New England Aquarium
Central Wharf
Boston, MA 02110

To donate to MCAF with a credit card, please call Jen Pires at: 617-226-2134 Thank you!

Funding inquiries

For funding inquiries, please send a paragraph about your project along with an approximate budget to the MCAF Manager. MCAF awards grants between $3,000 and $10,000 and currently gives priority to projects in developing countries.

For more information on funding guidelines, or to support MCAF, please contact:

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