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Although 71 percent of the planet’s surface is water, remarkably little of the world’s marine environment is protected. Unrelenting pressures from industrial fishing and other extractive activities threaten the worlds’ oceans—a situation that has changed only slightly with recent efforts to promote marine protected areas as a conservation tool.
Most of these areas are relatively small and provide primarily local environmental benefits. Few nations seem willing to place off limits world-scale, ecologically significant expanses large enough to protect ocean systems. Even in Australia’s Great Barrier Reef, one of the world’s largest protected areas, only 33 percent is closed to fishing. In most countries, the land protected in terrestrial parks far outstrips the area in marine reserves, and most maritime nations have few or no marine reserves at all.
Global Ocean Legacy originated as an outgrowth of work done by Pew in 2005–2006 to support the creation of a fully protected marine reserve in the northwestern Hawaiian Islands. That effort resulted in designation of the largest, permanent “no-take” marine reserve in the world. The area measures 360,000 square kilometers (138,000 square miles) and includes reefs, atolls, shoals and islands in largely unspoiled condition.
Inspired by this success, the Pew-managed Global Ocean Legacy project is dedicated to establishing, globally, over the next decade, at least three to five large, world-class, no-take marine reserves. Global Ocean Legacy marine reserves will provide ocean-scale ecosystem benefits and help conserve our global marine heritage.
Partners supporting Global Ocean Legacy include Pew, the Sandler Family Supporting Foundation, the Oak Foundation, and the Robertson Foundation.
For more information and resources, visit the Global Ocean Legacy campaign.
Photo by Dr. Chas Anderson.
Aug 19, 2011 - Australia’s southern Coral Sea is a global “biodiversity hotspot” for large predatory sharks, tuna and marlin and together with the Great Barrier Reef host the only known spawning aggregation of black marlin in the world. These are key findings from the first comprehensive biological and physical profile of the Coral Sea.
View: Full Report (Adobe PDF)
Jun 08, 2011 - In recognition of World Oceans Day (June 8), Pew’s Global Ocean Legacy campaign has launched an interactive map to spotlight some of the most important and unspoiled places in our seas.
Sep 10, 2008 - An international coalition presented a proposal to the government of Australia to create the world’s largest no-take marine park in the Coral Sea, an area that is important to the world’s marine environment and significant in its deep historical and cultural ties to the region.
Aug 25, 2008 - Where are the best places in the world to accomplish conservation at a truly oceanic scale? A key answer lies within the covers of this report—the proposed Mariana Trench Marine National Monument in the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands (CNMI).
Jun 30, 2008 - A study of the economic benefits and costs of the Mariana Trench Marine National Monument.
Nov 01, 2006 - A marine sanctuary in Hawaii became a national monument in June 2006, saving this environmental treasure permanently.
Feb 02, 2006 - A report on mercury levels and fish consumption surveyed at a Gulf of Mexico fishing rodeo.
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Joshua S. Reichert discusses these important ecological sanctuaries. Watch the Video
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A decade ago, the Pew Oceans Commission found that America’s oceans were in crisis. What has happened since?
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