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.

Right whales
Right whales
Article

East Coast Residents Support Protecting Right Whales

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Article

North Atlantic right whales are caught in a dramatic downward spiral that began in 2010, having lost more than 100 animals from a population of only around 500. Even with recent births, scientists put the number of whales at only about 350 at the end of 2019, the most recent year for which an estimate is available.

North Atlantic right whale
North Atlantic right whale
Article

Seeking Immediate Protection for Right Whales

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Article

In June 2020, The Pew Charitable Trusts petitioned the secretary of commerce to take emergency action to protect right whales from entanglement by closing high-risk areas to fishing gear with ropes, and since then, the crisis for this critically endangered species has only deepened.

Delaware Bayshore
Delaware Bayshore
Article

Two Delaware Watersheds Valued at Millions of Dollars Annually

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Article

Delaware’s Mispillion River and Cedar Creek watersheds—lands that separate waters flowing into different rivers, basins, or the ocean—have some of the last remaining large tracts of undisturbed land in the state. Because the area is under pressure from coastal development, and increasingly strong storms, a broad coalition is working to establish a nature-based investment strategy to increase economic opportunity while simultaneously conserving coastal habitats and boosting the communities’ resilience to sea level rise.

Queen Quet
Queen Quet
Article

African Descendants Have Stake in Saving U.S. Salt Marshes

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Salt marshes in the southeastern U.S. are home to descendants of enslaved Africans who have worked together for generations to protect their lands, waters, history, and culture.

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