Pew Bertarelli Ocean Legacy

From the heat of the equator to the deep chills of the North and South poles, the ocean binds the planet together. Making up more than 70 percent of the Earth’s surface, it is home to nearly a quarter of the world’s known species, many of which still await discovery. But human activities are increasingly threatening its health.

Research shows that large, fully protected marine reserves are a key tool for addressing many challenges to ocean health. Reserves help conserve valuable biodiversity and protect traditional cultures closely linked to the sea.

In 2006, The Pew Charitable Trusts and several partners launched the Global Ocean Legacy project in an effort to establish the world’s first generation of great marine parks. In its 10 years of existence, Global Ocean Legacy helped to obtain commitments to safeguard more than 2.4 million square miles (6.3 million square kilometers) of ocean.

But even with these successes, less than 3 percent of the world’s ocean has strong protections. Recognizing that the International Union for Conservation of Nature recommends we need to protect 30 percent of our oceans, based on the best-available science, Pew and the Bertarelli Foundation have joined forces in a new partnership with the goal of increasing the number of fully protected parks in the sea from nine to 15 by 2022.

Fact Sheet

Revillagigedo Archipelago

Waters around Pacific island group now make up Mexico’s largest fully protected marine reserve.

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Our Work

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  • Rapa Nui Marine Protected Area

    Easter Island, a territory of Chile that lies some 4,000 kilometers (2,485 miles) west of that country’s coast, is world famous for its Moai statues, which are recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage site. Now the treasures off the shores of this remote island are safeguarded as well with the creation of the Rapa Nui Marine Protected Area (MPA) in 2018. The surrounding waters, which contain... Read More

  • The Case for a Fully Protected South Sandwich Islands Marine Reserve

    South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands (SGSSI) are home to up to a quarter of the world’s penguins and some of the most diverse life on the planet. The SGSSI Government is reviewing the marine protections given to this area throughout 2018. Currently, only 2 percent of the SGSSI marine environment is fully protected from fishing, but the hope is the United Kingdom will upgrade the... Read More

  • Teeming With Wildlife, the Seas of the South Sandwich Islands Merit Protection Now

    In a remote and wind-swept area of the Southern Ocean, over 2,500 kilometres east of South America, sits South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands. The islands and the surrounding seas are teeming with wildlife, including penguins, whales, fur seals, and albatrosses. Such globally significant wildlife—and the fact that a large proportion of these waters are isolated and unexploited by... Read More

media contact

Kevin Connor

Manager, Communications

202.552.2213