Global Ocean Legacy

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The ocean covers nearly three-fourths of the globe and is home to nearly a quarter of the world’s known species, with countless yet to be discovered. The ocean helps support more than 250 million people who depend directly or indirectly on fishing for their livelihoods, and provides the main source of animal protein to more than 2.6 billion people.

The ocean plays an essential role in sustaining life on our planet, but human activities are increasingly threatening its health. Research shows that very large, fully protected marine reserves are key to rebuilding species abundance and diversity and protecting the overall health of the marine environment.

Global Ocean Legacy, a project of Pew and its partners, is working with local communities, governments and scientists around the world to protect and conserve some of our most important and unspoiled ocean environments.

Together we are establishing the world’s first generation of great marine parks by securing the designation of large, fully protected reserves. To date, our efforts have helped to safeguard 5.2 million square kilometers of ocean—an area 10 times the size of Central America.

Our Work

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  • Hawaii Senator Asks Obama to Expand Marine National Monument

    In the grand expanse of U.S. marine waters, few places hold the diversity of life found around Hawaii. That abundance helped drive the 2006 establishment of the Papahānaumokuākea Marine National Monument, which protects 140,000 square miles of ocean and atolls in the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands; the area is home to more than 7,000 species, a quarter of which are found nowhere else on Earth. Read More

  • Native Hawaiians Call for World's Largest Marine Reserve

    Papahānaumokuākea (pronounced pa-pa-hah-now-mo-koo-ah-keh-ah) is the Hawaiian name for the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands Marine National Monument. The word refers to a sacred area from which all life springs. This remote archipelago supports key ecosystems, including relatively undisturbed coral reefs, seamounts, pelagic zones, and an array of marine life. These waters are home to more than 7,000... Read More

  • Photos Show Why U.S. Should Expand Hawaii Marine Reserve

    When it was created in 2006, the Papahānaumokuākea Marine National Monument, in the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands, was the largest highly protected marine reserve in the world, covering 140,000 square miles (363,000 square kilometers). Its designation marked the first time a protected area of its size and level of protection had been established in the ocean. Read More

Where We Work

Global Ocean Legacy works with local communities, governments and scientists around the world to protect and conserve some of our most important and unspoiled ocean environments.

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Media Contact

Andrea Risotto

Manager, Communications

202.540.6510