A Visual Glossary of Ocean Terminology

Cartoon crash course

A Visual Glossary of Ocean Terminology

Ocean conservation is essential but sometimes difficult to understand. Pew joined forces with cartoonist Jim Toomey, the artist behind “Sherman’s Lagoon,” on 10 animated videos that explain the complicated concepts that guide efforts to protect our oceans.

Glossary catalog 

Click on the tiles below to watch and share these short, animated videos about critical ocean issues.

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What Are Forage Fish?

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What Are Forage Fish?

A cartoon crash course

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ocean_acid
ocean_acid
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What Is Ocean Acidification?

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There’s a chemical change under way in our oceans. It's called ocean acidification. As the ocean absorbs carbon dioxide from the atmosphere, it's becoming more acidic—eroding the shells of marine life like oysters, clams, and urchins, which are vital to the food web.

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illegal_fishing1
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What Is Illegal Fishing?

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Every second, criminals steal 1,800 pounds of fish from our oceans. Not only does poaching damage marine ecosystems, this piracy also hurts legitimate fishermen, who rely on a healthy ocean. What are the different types of illegal fishing? How this crime can make waves throughout the ocean and around the world. Watch and learn!

fisheries
fisheries
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What Is U.S. Fisheries Management?

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There are only so many fish in the sea. That’s why each region of the United States needs fisheries managers to make sure we don’t take too much marine life out of our ocean. Science-based fisheries management can help ensure a healthy ecosystem for fish and a hearty harvest for fishermen for generations to come.

OG
OG
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What Is Ocean Governance?

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“Ocean governance” sounds boring, but it’s actually incredibly important for anyone who enjoys seafood, marine life, and all of the riches of a healthy ocean.

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marine_debris
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What Is Marine Debris?

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Marine debris is all the manmade stuff that ends up in the oceans—from soda cans and plastic bottles to sunken ships. There’s marine debris in every ocean on Earth, and all that junk can kill and injure sea life, impede navigation, leach chemicals, and even end up in our food.

ocean zones
ocean zones
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What Are Ocean Zones?

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To the naked eye, our oceans look like a huge, endless expanse of water. In actuality, they’re divided into zones and areas, similar to how land is segmented into countries and states. From your country’s shores to the lawless high seas, see how the vast global ocean is made up of smaller zones.

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bycatch
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What Is Bycatch?

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"Bycatch" refers to all the fish and other marine creatures incidentally caught or killed by fishing gear. In commercial fishing, this happens on a huge scale: Nets and fishing lines often stretch for miles, indiscriminately snaring all manner of life—including whales, porpoises, sea turtles, and even birds.

EBFM
EBFM
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What Is Ecosystem-Based Fishery Management?

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Ocean life doesn’t live in a bubble—if you want to take care of one fish species, you also have to preserve where it lives and understand the other animals it interacts with. This big picture approach to marine conservation is called ecosystem-based fisheries management.

HPMR
HPMR
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What Are Highly Protected Marine Reserves?

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Scientists recommend safeguarding at least 30 percent of our ocean by establishing fully protected marine reserves. Find out why marine protected areas are an effective conservation method for protecting the sea for the fish, plants, and mammals that live in marine ecosystems.

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forage_fish
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What Are Forage Fish?

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Forage fish are small species such as herring, menhaden, and sardines that swim in big schools and feed on plankton. Though tiny, forage fish play a massive role in our ocean's ecosystem, serving as a critical food source for species ranging from sharks and whales to seals and seabirds.