The Pulitzer Center, a nonprofit organization that supports independent global journalism, is now accepting applications for a new reporting initiative focused on ocean health and fisheries.
We are seeking ambitious reporting proposals from freelance and staff journalists from around the world who wish to report on vital ocean and fisheries issues and are in need of support for their reporting projects.
Illegal, unreported, and unregulated fishing, plus changes to our climate and our ocean, are having profound effects on the natural resources that more than three billion people depend on for food, nutrition, and their livelihoods. What’s more, illegal fishing is often linked with other crimes such as human trafficking, bribery, corruption, and tax evasion. These growing pressures pose significant challenges to the long-term health and sustainability of fishers, coastal communities, the seafood industry, and countries around the world.
We believe journalists can play a crucial role in raising awareness about the complex web of challenges facing the ocean and fisheries. We also know that reporting on these issues can be extremely challenging, given that ocean research, illegal trawling, fishing fleet labor abuses, and other fisheries-related issues often occur on the high seas, far from public view.
This new initiative seeks to support enterprising journalists with ambitious reporting projects that will yield high-quality, in-depth journalism that exposes long-running fisheries problems and enables key stakeholders and a well-informed public to find solutions that lead to more legal and sustainably caught fish, supply chains free of forced labor, greater food security, and thriving coastal communities. Through our support, we intend to develop a global cohort of journalists dedicated to surfacing vital underreported ocean and fisheries stories.
Over the past couple of years, the Pulitzer Center has invested in a number of in-depth, hard-hitting reporting projects documenting climate change, environmental degradation, crime, and human conflict playing out across the world’s oceans, while at the same time chronicling solutions and the resiliency of communities facing these threats. Some of the strongest examples of Pulitzer Center-supported ocean reporting from the past several years include:
- "Will the Chesapeake Bay Become a Dead Zone?" | Duy Linh Tu
- "Mediterranean Grapples With Tasty, Voracious, Invasive Blue Crabs" | Guia Baggi
- "India's Intrepid Women Seaweed Divers" | Kamala Thiagarajan
- “Fights Over Illegal Fishing Lead to Armed Conflict, Deaths” | Helen Wieffering
- Into the Ice | Hal Bernton and Loren Holmes
- "Cameroon Becomes a Go-To Country for Foreign Fishing Vessels" | Grace Ekpu and Richa Syal
- How the Global Recycling System Collapsed | Sebastian Meyer and Vivienne Walt
- Changing Tides | Jack Igelman
- The Last Wild Kings: A World Without Salmon? | Zachariah Hughes
- Climate Change's Role in the Strandings of Gray Whales | Daniel Wolfe
WHAT WE'RE LOOKING FOR
We welcome story ideas on illegal, unreported, and unregulated fishing, including fisheries subsidies, overfishing, and the depletion of fish stocks, impacts on small-scale fishers and livelihoods in coastal communities, as well as solutions-oriented stories. We encourage applications for all formats of reporting on climate impacts, pollution, and biodiversity loss, and we would also like to see more applications on lesser reported topics, including:
- Climate change impacts (other than sea-level rise)
- Deep-sea mining
- Marine energy generation
- The blue economy
- Marine genetic resources and the sharing of benefits
- Marine Protected Areas (creation, implementation, and management)
- Species and habitat loss, restoration, and protection
- Ocean science
- Blue carbon and ecosystem value
- Marine geoengineering
- Polar issues
- Fishmeal production
- Aquaculture and blue foods
We particularly welcome applications from the Global South, and seek more reporting from these regions: Australia, New Zealand, the Pacific, east and southern Africa, the Middle East, and North Africa. We are also interested in receiving proposals for collaborative reporting projects by teams of reporters working on ocean and fisheries issues.
Our oceans, fisheries, and coastlines journalism is supported by the Walton Family Fund, The Norwegian Agency for Development Cooperation (Norad), and the Howard Hughes Department of Science Education.
WHAT WE DON'T FUND
To save our grantees and staff time, we thought it would be helpful to outline editorial products and project expenses we don’t fund:
- Books (we can support a story that might become part of a book, as long as the story is published independently in a media outlet)
- Feature-length films (we do support short documentaries with ambitious distribution plans)
- Staff salaries
- Equipment purchases (equipment rentals are considered on a case-by-case basis)
- An outlet’s general expenses (for example rent, utilities, insurance)
- Seed money for start-ups
- Routine breaking news and coverage
- Advocacy/marketing campaigns
- Data projects aimed solely at academic research. Data should be developed to enhance/support journalism.