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

View All
  • 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

  • CCAMLR 101: How to Protect Antarctica's Marine Life

    What is CCAMLR, and how can it protect the penguins, seals, whales, and other animals that live in Antarctica? Our whiteboard animation explains. Read More

  • Protecting Our Southern Ocean

    The waters that surround Antarctica are among the least-altered ecosystems on Earth. Covering nearly 10 percent of the planet’s surface, the Southern Ocean supports a wide array of unique biodiversity that thrives in frigid temperatures. Tiny Antarctic krill, numbering in the trillions, flourish in huge swarms that sustain life for the region’s diversity of predators, including killer whales,... Read More