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.