The world's oceans are vitally important to all life on Earth. However, human activities are altering marine ecosystems in highly detrimental ways. To better protect our oceans, we need a greater understanding of how serious threats – overfishing, widespread pollution and global climate change – are altering these environments.
To improve our knowledge of ocean ecosystems and the life they support, the Ocean Science Division pursues a diverse portfolio of projects related to marine conservation. We develop and support scientific research, technical analyses and syntheses of scientific information that help to explain critical emerging issues, inform policy and advance solutions to conservation problems.
As part of our work, Pew funds the Sea Around Us Project at the University of British Columbia. The project has assembled global databases of fisheries information, including catches, prices, distribution of commercial marine species and marine protected areas. The project analyzes and maps data, documents the impact of fisheries, and devises recommendations to reverse harmful trends.
Forage Fish in the California Current
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Industrial fishing is big business. Official global statistics show that commercial operations take approximately 80 million metric tons of fish from the oceans each year. However, when the extent of smaller-scale fishing—which scientists are uncovering only now—is factored in, the actual catch may be much larger. Read More
Daniel Pauly, Ph.D., is arguably the most famous, and potentially the most provocative, fisheries biologist in the world. He's openly critical of the way we are overexploiting the ocean's resources and thinks that if we don't stop, we are likely to be left with a sea of 'jellyfish and plankton soup.' Read More
Pioneering astronaut Kathryn Sullivan—now the Administrator of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA)—made history in October 1984, when she became the first American woman to walk in space. Thirty years later, Dr. Sullivan sat down at The Pew Charitable Trusts with Lynn Sherr—author of the recent New York Times best-seller Sally Ride: America's First Woman in Space—to reflect... Read More