The Peter Benchley Ocean Awards™ was a project of the Blue Frontier Campaign for its first eight years. Recognized as the world’s leading honors for ocean conservation and solutions, the Benchley Awards now function as an independent event with Wendy Benchley and David Helvarg, the Co-Founders, at it’s helm.
During this period the Benchley Awards grew in stature and impact. Today the global marine community sees the Peter Benchley Ocean Awards™ as an important occasion to bring world leaders, scientists, policy makers along with other solution-oriented leaders together to elevate marine conservation on the world stage and promote actions to protect and restore our blue planet.
The Benchley Award’s purpose of recognizing ocean excellence across a broad array of civil society is distinct from Blue Frontier’s focus on grassroots activism and constituency building. So with the blessing of Blue Frontier’s Board of Directors in early 2015 the Peter Benchley Ocean Awards became a separate organization with Wendy Benchley and David Helvarg serving as the co-founders.
The first awards were given at the 2004 Blue Vision Conference in Washington, D.C. where Peter Benchley, the author of Jaws, gave the keynote speech. After he passed away, his wife Wendy Benchley agreed to partner with Blue Frontier Campaign’s founder and Executive Director, David Helvarg to title the awards in honor of his legacy.
Peter and Wendy worked for more than four decades to protect sharks and sound the alarm on important ocean conservation issues. Today, Wendy is a well-known ocean conservationist and marine policy advocate, who sits on the Board of Directors for Blue Frontier and WildAid and serves as an Advisory Trustee for the Environmental Defense Fund and Ocean Champions. Her co-founder David Helvarg continues to direct Blue Frontier while also writing books and producing other ocean related media.