A Balanced, Working Ocean

Protecting the ocean's habitats and wildlife, while providing space for communities and economies to prosper. 

Ocean Conservancy's visions for a balanced and working ocean includes:

  • Healthy and thriving wildlife living in protected habitats;
  • Smart ocean planning that encourages commerce, sensible energy development, and wildlife protection; and 
  • Healthy fisheries that will sustain people and nature for generations to come.

We're pursuing this vision through programs across the country that rely on the best science to advocate for smart policy. 

Marine Protected Areas

In the United States, more than 10 percent of our land has been reserved as protected parks, wildlife refuges and wilderness areas, but the same level of care has yet to be given to our ocean, where less than 1 percent is protected.

Underwater parks, called marine protected areas, strongly improve our ocean’s health.

Fish, for example, thrive in these protected areas. This not only makes a difference for the fish, but for the people and wildlife that depend on healthy fish for their survival. 

Studies also show that underwater parks are more resilient in the face of threats and hold up even in the face of disaster.

Smart Ocean Planning

The 21st century economy depends on the ocean and that means shipping, recreational boating, commercial fishing and offshore energy are all vying to use the same waters – along with whales, birds, sea turtles and other important wildlife.

Smart planning for marine resources requires a coordinated policy – based on science – to balance ocean uses. More comprehensive and available data means greater efficiency and maximized resources. By listening to the needs of all ocean users, better decisions can be made about how to preserve a thriving economy and healthy ocean.

Sustainable Fisheries

Fish nourish wildlife. They also sustain local economies and attract the tourism dollars of snorkelers, divers and recreational fishermen.

But the ocean’s supply can’t keep up with our growing human demands. Overfishing is not only harming fish, it is harming the fishermen, coastal economies and ecosystems that are dependent on them.

Our partnerships with fishermen have led to new policies to help make fish plentiful now and into the future—and they are successful. The catch by American fishermen has reached a 17-year high. And red snapper are recovering in the Gulf of Mexico.

With your help, we can continue making progress toward a balanced and working ocean that sustains nature and provides for people.

Protecting the Arctic and Restoring the Gulf of Mexico 

Ocean Conservancy's policies are not only pursued in the halls of power, they are enacted on the ground in critical areas facing sustained threats. 

The Arctic is one of Earth’s last pristine ecosystems. Some of the world’s largest seabird populations congregate here, iconic wildlife thrives in this frigid white world, and vibrant human communities also rely on the Arctic’s resources. 

Today the Arctic faces unparalleled challenges, from expanding oil and gas exploration and other industrial activity to increasing tourism and climate change impacts.

At Ocean Conservancy, we’re working to help citizens and decision-makers alike understand what’s at stake. We’re advocating for science-based solutions to ensure that Arctic waters remain healthy and clean.

The Gulf of Mexico is a beautiful and bountiful place that serves as an economic driver for the country, sustaining a robust seafood industry, recreational fishing and tourism activities. 

For more than two decades, Ocean Conservancy has worked in the Gulf of Mexico to secure a sustainable future for the region. We are committed to doing everything we can, in coordination with all willing partners, to advocate for science-based restoration plans that go beyond the oil disaster and address the entire Gulf of Mexico.

Join us to protect a balanced working ocean that sustains nature and provides for people.


Why the Ocean Matters

The ocean provides the air we breathe, the food we eat and the water we drink. Learn more about why the ocean matters to you.  

Vision for a Healthy Ocean

Ocean Conservancy works to keep the ocean healthy, to keep us healthy.

Our Solutions

We champion sound science that will lead to innovative, sustainable solutions.

Ocean Conservancy makes careful use of your support, and holds high ratings from charity watchdogs.
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