Special Projects



Crail-Johnson Foundation is proud to support AltaSea, a public-private ocean institute based in the Port of Los Angeles. Their mission is to accelerate scientific collaboration and advancing an emerging blue economy through innovation and job creation.

AltaSea represents a unique and forward-thinking model for ocean-related solutions, making a profound impact on both Los Angeles and the global environment. This innovative public-private ocean institute is the result of a visionary plan created in collaboration with the community. At the heart of AltaSea's mission is the convergence of exploration, science, business, and education, forging transformative solutions for our planet.


AltaSea at the Port of Los Angeles is dedicated to accelerating scientific collaboration, advancing an emerging blue economy through business innovation and job creation, and inspiring the next generation, all for a more sustainable, just and equitable world.


We will turn to the ocean to develop solutions for some of the planet’s most pressing challenges, such as climate change, energy supply and global food security – and prepare today’s generation of students for future jobs in science, technology, engineering, business and the ocean.

Focus Areas

AltaSea brings together the brightest minds to address pressing issues in the following key areas:

  1. Science: The organization convenes and supports world-class marine scientists in conducting groundbreaking research. Their work encompasses vital topics such as energy supply, climate change, and global food security.
  2. Business: AltaSea fosters the growth of new and existing businesses that commercialize scientific breakthroughs and emerging technologies, thereby creating ocean-related products, services, and employment opportunities.
  3. Education: Through pioneering programs, AltaSea instills a passion for and understanding of the crucial role the ocean plays on our planet among both children and adults

Areas of Engagement

AltaSea's collaborative approach initially focuses on three oceanic fields:

  1. Regenerative Aquaculture: Addressing the urgent need for sustainable food sources, this cluster explores responsible aquaculture practices that promote food security and environmental sustainability. It brings together scientists, entrepreneurs, and educators to conduct research, explore emerging technologies, and develop commercial sustainable aqua-farms in U.S. waters.
  2. Renewable Energy: To combat greenhouse gas emissions and air pollution, the Renewable Energy Cluster aims to diversify energy sources and reduce reliance on nonrenewable options. It focuses on various forms of energy, such as kinetic wave energy and algae fuel technologies, with the goal of designing long-lasting, low-carbon impact energy systems.
  3. Blue Tech & Underwater Robotics: This cluster addresses ocean-related challenges through the development of underwater robotic technology for remote monitoring, sensing, and exploration. It advances the use of remotely operated vehicles (ROVs) and autonomously operated vehicles (AOVs) while also offering unique STEM education programs and internships.


The AltaSea project began with a grant from the Annenberg Foundation, leading to the visioning study for the new home of the Southern California Marine Institute (SCMI). It subsequently secured a 50-year lease with the City of Los Angeles and initiated a capital investment of $57 million for site rehabilitation by the Harbor Department. A Board of Trustees comprising top business, civic, and philanthropic leaders was formed to oversee the organization, construction, and capital campaign. AltaSea transitioned into a standalone nonprofit corporation, and the Gensler-designed campus plan was approved.

The Campus

AltaSea is establishing an urban, ocean-based campus at the Port of Los Angeles, providing a collaborative space for ocean innovators. This cutting-edge 400,000 square foot campus, situated on a historic pier with direct access to the deep ocean, offers state-of-the-art facilities. It includes 4,100 feet of linear dock space, circulating seawater and marine life support systems, laboratories, research facilities, and hands-on educational and job skills development areas.

Science Center

Home to the Southern California Marine Institute, a consortium of 23 universities and colleges, the Science Center serves as a hub for top scientists conducting ocean-related research and addressing environmental challenges through intensive collaboration.

Dock Space

AltaSea boasts 4,100 linear feet of waterfront dock and wharf space, making it a premier location on the West Coast for research vessels to access both harbor and open ocean environments.

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