Effective Marine Protections Can Play Important Role in Meeting Global Conservation Goals

Pew and other environmental groups highlight opportunities to protect, restore biodiversity

Effective Marine Protections in Meeting Global Conservation Goals
A shark illuminated by beams of sunlight while swimming at the bottom of the ocean.
The United States has pledged to protect at least 30% of its land and waters by 2030, which would help to conserve marine ecosystems and species, including blacktip reef sharks like the one pictured here.
Cassandra Scott Ocean Image Bank

U.S. President Joe Biden has pledged to protect and conserve at least 30% of U.S. land and ocean areas by 2030—a concept known as “30 by 30”—and has established the America the Beautiful campaign, a nationwide effort to achieve this goal.

On Dec. 14, 2021, members of the National Ocean Protection Coalition, which includes The Pew Charitable Trusts, wrote to Council on Environmental Quality Chair Brenda Mallory, U.S. Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo, and U.S. Interior Secretary Deb Haaland regarding the use of other effective conservation measures (known as OECMs) to advance federal conservation objectives. The letter emphasizes how marine protected areas and OECMs, if properly identified and implemented, can play a critical role in efforts to protect and rejuvenate biodiversity. But the letter also warns that OECMs improperly attributed toward the 30% target pose a risk and potential setback for global conservation efforts. 

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World Leaders Increasingly Back Ambitious Ocean Protection Target

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For 30% Ocean Protection, Look Beyond Conventional Tools

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There is growing agreement among government leaders, Indigenous groups, communities, and scientists that governments and other regulatory bodies must protect and conserve at least 30% of Earth’s coastal and marine areas by 2030 to secure and maintain a healthy ocean, support resilience in the face of climate change, improve food security, and more.