The oceans are the origin and engine of all life on this planet — and they are in extreme peril.
Unprecedented sea-level rise and dangerously warming waters caused by climate change are among a list of grim impacts predicted by a recent United Nations report. By the end of the century, more of the world’s seas could be hot, acidic and lifeless — with catastrophic implications for marine life, Earth’s climate and the food security of billions of people.
Immediate and transformative action is needed to prevent the UN’s stark warning from becoming reality.
Conservation International’s Center for Oceans guides the organization’s global marine work. Building on more than a decade of experience working with businesses, governments and communities, the Center for Oceans aims to protect the ocean at a global scale. The Center does this by leveraging the latest technological and social innovations while partnering with organizations, companies and governments around the world.
Where humanity needs to be by 2030
The planetary need is to actively conserve 30 percent of the global ocean using area-based measures and ensure at least 75 percent of seafood globally is produced using socially responsible and environmentally sustainable methods by 2030.
What we are doing about it
Conservation International is:
- Generating and leveraging significant financial and human capital to support countries to scale up ocean conservation
- Creating financial and policy incentives to protect and restore coastal ecosystems, such as mangroves
- Disrupting damaging policies and practices in the seafood sector
Conservation International will work with partners to:
Improve the health and management of at least 20 fisheries and aquaculture areas by 2025
Protect and restore coastlines to achieve a net increase in global mangrove coverage by 20% by 2030
Advance the protection of 18 million square kilometers of ocean (5% of the global ocean) by 2025
Blue Nature Alliance
In 2020, Conservation International launched a bold new alliance to address some of the gravest threats to the ocean, from illegal fishing and overfishing to biodiversity loss. The partnership will enable the conservation of 18 million square kilometers (7 million square miles) of ecologically significant seas. The resulting protections will help to replenish fisheries, increase the resilience of marine species and ecosystems to climate change, and help coastal communities eat, thrive and adapt for generations to come.
Socially responsible seafood
Conservation International works at the nexus of human well-being and environmental sustainability. With environmental, human rights and industry leaders, we are transitioning the Monterey Framework for Socially Responsible Seafood into practice in critical industrial and small-scale fisheries supply chains — ensuring social safeguards to protect fishers' civil, political, economic, social and cultural rights. We target environmental and human-rights hotspots where this crisis is concentrated, bringing research and technical capacity to strategic partners, globally.
In the field
Conservation International is hard at work
Related conservation news from the field
2020 in review: For world’s oceans, a year of distress, discovery
Nature saw its ups and downs in 2020, and Conservation News was there for it all. This month, we are revisiting some of the most interesting and significant stories and issues we covered in the past year.
To read headlines about the ocean is to be subjected to a litany of bad news, with research showing that large swaths of the ocean are becoming increasingly hot, lifeless and acidic as climate change accelerates. Avoiding the worst climate impacts, scientists say, means protecting the ocean — and the people who depend on it — on a massive scale.
From groundbreaking research into mysterious deep-water coral reefs, to helping fishers to (sustainably) weather a pandemic, Conservation International was at the leading edge of marine science and policy in 2020. Here are some of our most-read stories of the year.
Combing through historical data and more than half a million records of corals worldwide, researchers identified more than 116 coral reefs flourishing throughout the high seas — the waters that lie beyond maritime borders. Conservation News spoke to the study’s lead author about why this discovery offers a ray of hope for the world’s dying reefs.
Read more here.
- FURTHER READING: Newly discovered coral species face uncertainty in Pacific’s depths
A new study found that the pandemic is crippling small-scale fisheries — the coastal and non-industrial fishing enterprises that make up more than 90 percent of the global fishing industry. Conservation International’s Elena Finkbeiner, a co-author on the study, outlined the road to recovery.
Read more here.
Conservation International’s diving safety officer, Edgardo Ochoa, visits some of the planet’s most spectacular reefs. He never knows quite what corals or fish he’ll encounter. But there is one thing he has come to expect on every dive: plastic. To prevent an even more plastic-filled future for our oceans, he offers five tips to help you save our seas.
Read more here.
In January, a group of researchers found that walking sharks are collectively the “youngest” — as in, the most recently evolved — sharks to ever walk (or swim) the planet. We spoke to Mark Erdmann, a Conservation International shark expert and co-author on the study, about how his team uncovered the evolutionary origin of this unique shark species — and why they could help us adapt to climate change.
Read more here.
Grim reports and unsettling headlines paint a bleak future for Earth’s coral reefs, which are projected to be wiped out by the end of the century due to climate change and pollution. But a recent study found that this future can be prevented — and outlined the relatively small steps humanity can take to ensure coral reefs’ long-term protection and productivity.
Read more here.
- FURTHER READING: A ‘first aid kit’ for the world’s coral reefs?
Related peer-reviewed science