Board of Directors

Mark J. Spalding



Mark J. Spalding, President of The Ocean Foundation, also serves on the Sargasso Sea Commission. He is a Senior Fellow at the Center for the Blue Economy at the Middlebury Institute of International Studies and an Advisor to the High-Level Panel for a Sustainable Ocean Economy. In addition, he serves as the advisor to the Rockefeller Climate Solutions Fund, the Rockefeller Global Innovation Strategy, and the UBS Rockefeller and Kraneshares Rockefeller Ocean Engagement Funds (unprecedented ocean-centric investment funds). Mark is a UNEPGuidance Working Group member for its Sustainable Blue Economy Finance Initiative. He co-authored the “Transatlantic Blue Economy Initiative,” a joint project of the Wilson Center and Konrad Adenauer Stiftung. Mark designed the first-ever blue carbon offset program, SeaGrass Grow. From 2018 to 2023, he served as a member of the Ocean Studies Board and the U.S. National Committee for the Decade of Ocean Science for Sustainable Development, National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine (USA). He is an expert on international ocean policy and law, blue economy finance and investment, and coastal and marine philanthropy.

Mark, who has been practicing law and acting as a policy consultant since 1986, was the chair of the environmental law section of the California State Bar Association from 1998-1999. From 1994 to 2003, Mark was the Director of the Environmental Law and Civil Society Program and Editor of the Journal of Environment and Development at the Graduate School of International Relations & Pacific Studies (IR/PS), University of California at San Diego. In addition to lecturing at IR/PS, Mark has taught at Scripps Institution of Oceanography, UCSD’s Muir College, UC Berkeley’s Goldman School of Public Policy, and the University of San Diego’s School of Law. Mark helped design some of the most significant ocean conservation campaigns in recent years. He is an experienced and successful facilitator at the international level. He brings his extensive experience with the legal and policy aspects of ocean conservation to the Foundation’s grantmaking strategy and evaluation process. He holds a B.A. in history with Honors from Claremont McKenna College, a J.D. from Loyola Law School, a Master in Pacific International Affairs (MPIA) from IR/PS, and a Wines of the World Certification from Cornell University.

Posts by Mark J. Spalding