Shark Awareness & Protection Grant Contest

Through the Shark Awareness & Protection Grant Contest, Turtle Island Restoration Network seeks to support global research and conservation projects relating to a marine species that serves a vital role in ocean ecosystems: sharks.

How it Works

The public will vote for the organization they wish to receive the grant. The organization that receives the most votes will be awarded the grant! 

Eligible Organizations

Click here to vote for the organization you wish to win!

American Shark Conservancy (USA)The mission of the American Shark Conservancy is to conduct inclusive and innovative research and outreach to conserve vulnerable shark species through sustainable management. Grant funds will be used to purchase equipment that measures the environmental variables of the water used by the sharks that they study — great hammerhead sharks, blacktip sharks, and silky sharks ) — in an effort to record and analyze critical water variables that influence sharks’ physiology and behavior. 

Coordinadora Ecuatoriana para la Defensa de la Naturaleza y el Medio Ambiente (Ecuador)The mission of CEDENMA is to represent the collective expression or opinion of the group of Ecuadorian environmental non-governmental organizations, whose purpose is the conservation of nature, the protection of the environment and the promotion and achievement of sustainable development. Grant funds will be used towards educational campaigns to let consumers in Quito know there are ways to identify that they are being sold or given shark meat instead of other fish. The campaign will also educate congress so they are able to legislate with the right tools and information to make the correct legislation in order to protect sharks. 

Earthlanka (Sri Lanka)The mission of Earthlanka is to create and sustain and protect the environment creating spaces for young people to express themselves and take action on environmental issues, which they feel strongly for safeguarding the earth’s natural resources. Grant funds will be used to conduct research on the local shark species’ prey of choice to conserve their prey, as well as educating local fishermen to conserve sharks and rays while introducing alternatives. Sri Lanka is home to about 85 species of sharks and rays, but Sri Lanka is also a key country when it comes to shark fin trade in the world.

Fundación Madre Agua (Colombia)The mission of Fundación Madre Agua is to connect the general public with marine environments and their protection through scientific tourism aimed at developing projects to create a knowledge baseline to better inform and promote conservation initiatives and policy. Grant funds will be used to finance research boat trips in Bahía Solano, one of the largest fishing villages in the Chocó region on Colombia’s Pacific coast, where crucial scientific information about whale sharks will be collected. In addition, workshops and boat trips involving both local fishermen and students from local educational institutions will be organized, to directly involve them with the research being conducted and promote a more direct contact with the species.

Green Wolf CR (Costa Rica) – Green Wolf Costa Rica is a comprehensive, inclusive and sustainable movement that seeks the socio-ecosystem recovery of Costa Rica through action and intersectoral alliances. Grant funds will be used to support the educational component of a 19-meter-long hammerhead shark sculpture made up of material seized from illegal hammerhead shark fishing in the Isla del Coco National Park, Costa Rica. The sculpture serves as a space for reflection and discussion on the current situation of the world’s sharks, directed and dedicated to all people of all ages and from anywhere in the world. The shark, made up of more than 300 buoys, calls for reflection on the issue of vulnerability of fauna and marine ecosystems.

Marine Conservation Science Institute (USA)The mission of Marine Conservation Science Institute (MCSI) is to work towards the goal of sustainable fisheries and a healthy marine environment for future generations to enjoy. Grant funds will be used to tag two adult female white sharks off the coast of California, in hopes of tracking them long enough to reveal where these white sharks give birth. The nursery regions of white sharks are by far the most critical locations for conserving this species, since the young sharks are vulnerable to commercial fishery activities.

MigraMar (USA/Costa Rica)The mission of MigraMar is to research and provide the necessary technical advice for the conservation of the migratory species in the Eastern Pacific. Grant funds will be used to fund research to determine shark abundance and distribution patterns at pelagic environments in the South Pacific of Costa Rica. A total of 216 drifting-pelagic baited remote underwater video systems (BRUVS) will be deployed over 6 survey sites during a 12-day expedition, priority areas for the target shark species will be identified, and robust scientific-based results will be presented to decision makers and the specific management measures recommended to protect endangered shark species in pelagic environments of the South Pacific of Costa Rica to be accepted for implementation.

Minorities in Shark Sciences (USA)The mission of Minorities in Shark Sciences (MISS) is to strive to be seen and take up space in a discipline which has been largely inaccessible for minority women as well as seek to promote diversity and inclusion in shark science and encourage women of color to push through barriers and contribute knowledge in marine science. Grant funds will be used to expand their data and sample sharing network around the world to monitor various populations. This will result in several publications, additional analyses on sharks in more remote areas, long-term involvement of researchers from the global south in large-scale, multi-year research projects, and increased diversity in shark science.

Shark Allies (USA)The mission of Shark Allies is to promote the protection and conservation of sharks and rays. The focus is on taking action, on raising awareness and guiding initiatives that reduce the destructive overfishing of sharks on a global scale. Grant funds will be used to cover expenses and fund manpower related to developing and implementing a strategy to provide outreach education during shark fishing tournaments on the East Coast of the U.S. where there are roughly 70 shark tournaments that result in approximately 70,000 sharks being taken.

Shark Spotters (South Africa)The mission of Shark Spotters is to improve beach safety by applying innovative and responsible shark safety solutions that reduce the spatial overlap between people and sharks, thereby reducing the risk of a shark bite. Shark Spotters also provide emergency response in the event of a shark incident, as well as conduct cutting-edge applied research on shark behaviour and ecology, conduct proactive and reactive coastal conservation interventions, raise awareness about shark safety and conservation issues, and provide employment opportunities and skills development for shark spotters. Grant funds will be used to produce a series of three short animations on shark safety, shark conservation and responsible ocean use.

Click here to vote for the organization you wish to win!


  • Nominated organizations must be a non-profit organization. Non-profit organizations are eligible if recognized for public charity status under Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code or are fiscally sponsored by a 501(c)(3) organization or are tax exempt in the state or country in which it operates.
  • Nominated organizations must use funds within one year to conduct projects relating to sharks. Some examples of activities could include direct policy advocacy, campaign work, hands-on conservation and research.
  • Nominated organizations can be located outside of the United States.


Nomination Period. Organizations must nominate their group on the entry form by August 1, 2021 for consideration and participation.

Nominees Announced. Organizations that meet the eligibility requirements will be notified of their voting status by August 2, 2021 via the e-mail address provided on the entry form.

Voting Period. Voting will begin on August 3, 2021 and end on August 22, 2021. Nominees are encouraged to let their supporters know to vote for their organization by announcing it at meetings, on their website, on social media, in an email newsletter, or to local media. Voting will take place online at

Winners Announced. Winners will be announced by August 5, 2021 and funds will be sent out within 14 business days following a signed grant agreement. The winning organizations will be promoted through TIRN media outlets and through press releases. The winner will be notified via e-mail to the e-mail address provided on the TIRN entry form. The highest number of votes in the final round of the contest will determine the winner. Disqualification, forfeiture and the selection of an alternate winner may result from any of the following: (1) failure to respond to email notification within two days of transmission; (2) the return of an email notification as undeliverable; (3) failure to provide Turtle Island Restoration Network with satisfactory proof of non-profit status.

Application Guidelines

In your application, please be able to answer the following questions/requirements. (Please note you will be unable to save this application and return to it. We recommend preparing your answers before starting the application.)

  • Organization Name
  • Organization Location
  • Mission Statement
  • Organization Website
  • Organization EIN
  • Number of Employees
  • Number of Volunteers
  • Number of Members
  • Annual Budget
    • Less than $100K
    • $100-249K
    • $250-499K
    • $500K-1 million
    • $1-2 million
    • Over $2 million
  • Briefly describe the history of the organization.
  • Is your organization fiscally sponsored? If so, please provide fiscal sponsor name and EIN, if applicable.
  • Description of network, community, or individuals that the shark project targets. Please indicate if the project addresses environmental justice (including racial and/or socio-economic injustices).
  • Shark species conserved.
  • Threats to sharks in this area.
  • Please list at least three past successes.
  • Why is this work needed to improve shark conservation?
  • How will grant funds be used to protect sharks?
  • Please list at least three anticipated results expected during the grant term (one year).

Click here to nominate your organization.

If you have any questions please email