From the heat of the equator to the North and South poles, the ocean binds the planet together, supporting communities, maritime industries, and most life on Earth.
Covering more than 70 percent of the planet, the ocean regulates the weather, produces 70 percent of the oxygen in our atmosphere, and is home to nearly a quarter of the world’s known species—and many that still await discovery.
But the marine ecosystem is ailing because of problems that include overfishing, plastic pollution, climate change, ocean acidification, and marine debris.
Studies consistently show that large, fully protected marine reserves protect biodiversity, safeguard traditional cultures closely linked to the sea, and allow plant and animal species to recover, all of which benefit areas far beyond the boundaries of the protected areas.
But less than 4 percent of the world’s ocean is covered by strong safeguards, far short of the 30 percent recommended by the International Union for Conservation of Nature.
The Pew Bertarelli Ocean Legacy Project
The Pew Charitable Trusts and Dona Bertarelli created the Pew Bertarelli Ocean Legacy Project, with the shared goal of establishing the first generation of ecologically significant, large, and effective marine protected areas (MPAs) around the world. Today, the Pew Bertarelli Ocean Legacy Project also seeks to connect MPAs and help conserve key migratory species and entire marine ecosystems. These efforts build on more than a decade of work by Pew and the Bertarelli Foundation, led by Dona Bertarelli, to create large-scale highly or fully protected MPAs. Between them, they have helped to obtain designations or commitments to safeguard nearly 12.6 million square kilometers (4.8 million square miles) of ocean by working with communities, local leaders, philanthropic partners, Indigenous groups, government officials, and scientists. Dona Bertarelli is a philanthropist, investor, sportswoman, and strong advocate for ocean conservation. The Pew Charitable Trusts addresses the challenges of a changing world by illuminating issues, creating common ground, and advancing ambitious projects including the need for effective marine conservation.