The Southern Ocean, which encircles Antarctica and is generally defined as extending north to the 60th parallel, is the fourth largest ocean, unique in that it touches no other landmass except Antarctica.   In the icy blue waters of the Southern Ocean, there is a dazzling array of life.  Penguins, whales, toothfish, and krill thrive there, and upwelling currents from the ocean’s depths supply nutrients that support three-fourths of world’s marine life.  A half-century ago, countries agreed to declare Antarctica a place of peace and science.  A similar agreement would help protect the seas surrounding Antarctica.

By the numbers

  • 1 millionpairs of Adélie penguins in the Ross Sea area of the Southern Ocean

  • 16,000 estimated number of species living in
    Southern Ocean

  • 66% share of penguin species considered threatened

Our Work

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  • Establishing the National Parks of the Sea

    The United Kingdom committed to create the world’s largest fully protected marine reserve in the remote waters surrounding the Pitcairn Islands in the South Pacific Ocean. Callum Roberts, a Pew marine fellow, professor at the University of York, and leading expert on the science of marine reserves, and dozens of other scientists from around the world support designations such as this... Read More

  • Cold-Water Swimmer Lewis Pugh Breaks Records for the Ross Sea

    Ocean advocate Lewis Pugh took on one of the greatest endurance challenges in the world March 1 when he swam 350 meters (1,150 feet) of icy water in the Bay of Whales in Antarctica’s Ross Sea. With that feat, the United Nations Environment Programme’s Patron for Oceans set the world record for most southerly swim ever documented. Read More

  • Antarctica Never Ceases to Amaze Me...

    As a child, I had vivid dreams about Antarctica: the solitude of its endless skies, the vast white landscapes, the adventures of the polar explorers—and especially the penguins, seals, whales, and other iconic species that make their home in and around the Southern Ocean. Read More