Reaching from Africa to Australia, the Indian Ocean covers 23 million square miles, and is the end point for some of the world’s great rivers, including the Zambezi, Ganges, and Indus.  The Indian Ocean has numerous marine and island jewels that are critical habitat for fish, seabirds, and coral reefs.  Especially important is the Chagos Archipelago, one of the most remote and unspoiled marine areas on earth.  Located in the middle of the Indian Ocean, the Chagos comprise 55 islands and are home to 700 species of fish, as well as turtles and dolphins.  But like the world’s other oceans, the Indian Ocean and its marine life are threatened by illegal fishing, climate change, and environmental degradation.

By the numbers
  • 175,000 breeding pairs of seabirds on the Chagos islands

  • 5.8estimated loss by east African nations because of illegal, underreported, or unregulated fishing

  • 90,000 square kilometers surrounding Maldives islands declared a marine sanctuary

Our Work

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  • Our Ocean Conference

    Pew is delighted to be participating in the second Our Ocean [hyperlinked to event page] conference, on October 5-6 in Valparaíso, Chile, which will bring together leaders from government, academia, and advocacy organizations who share a common goal—to ensure our ocean remains healthy and vibrant for years to come. The conference will address many issues on which Pew is working... Read More

  • Somalia Warns of Rise in Poaching in Western Indian Ocean

    Somali pirates once wielded enough power to force fishing vessels to flee the Horn of Africa. In 2011, the number of at-sea encounters with armed bandits peaked at 243, affecting more than 3,700 crew members. Read More

  • 3 Sharks That Need Protection in the Indian Ocean

    As top predators, sharks are essential to the health of the ocean. Every year, however, about 100 million are caught and killed in commercial fisheries, an unsustainable number. Whether this catch is unintended, unwanted, or highly sought after, its impact on ocean ecosystems demands urgent action. Read More