Project

Conserving Marine Life in the United States

From mangroves and salt marshes to underwater coral reefs and seagrass meadows, nearshore habitats host abundant marine life and support the economic vitality of coastal communities across the United States.

An estimated 95 percent of all commercially important fish species use these areas for spawning, as nurseries, and for shelter and food. Humans also benefit from these habitats, which filter pollutants, stabilize shorelines, reduce erosion, buffer coastlines against sea level rise and flooding, support jobs, and provide recreational opportunities from bird-watching and snorkeling to kayaking and fishing.

Yet these valuable assets face significant threats from pollution, more frequent and severe storms, rising seas, and growing commercial and recreational activity tied to the increasing number of people living near the coasts.

The Pew Charitable Trusts and its partners work to protect valuable coastal waters and habitats by identifying and advancing science-based conservation measures that will ensure all people can enjoy and benefit from nearshore resources now and into the future. Pew also works to strengthen U.S. fisheries management through policies that recognize the interconnected nature of marine life.

Salt marsh
Salt marsh
Article

11 Ways You Can Enjoy Salt Marshes

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Article

Coastal salt marshes, which lie between the land and sea, are home to abundant wildlife that gives rise to activities ranging from fishing to photography

HOMOSASSA, FLORIDA
HOMOSASSA, FLORIDA
Issue Brief

Community Voices Are Key to Florida's Coast

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Issue Brief

Florida’s Nature Coast Aquatic Preserve, created in June 2020, spans spans more than 700 square miles along the coasts of Citrus, Hernando, and Pasco counties and protects coastal habitat, including part of the Gulf of Mexico’s largest seagrass meadow, as well as sponge fields, mangrove forests, oyster reefs, and salt marshes. These ecosystems provide habitat for a vast array of marine animals and form the backbone of the region’s coastal economy.

california, kelp
california, kelp
Article

California Considers Bull Kelp Harvest Limits

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Article

The past seven years have been devastating for Northern California’s bull kelp forests, which are crucial for fighting climate change, sheltering sea life, and supporting coastal economies. Warming ocean waters and an explosion of purple sea urchins—voracious bull kelp predators—have all but wiped out this important marine algae along large swaths of the North Coast.

Two men on a boat fishing Apalachicola oyster in the sea
Two men on a boat fishing Apalachicola oyster in the sea
Article

10 Strategies for Restoring Florida's Apalachicola Bay

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Article

Plans are underway to restore Florida’s most famous oyster bay, and local communities can weigh in on what should be done.

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