A resilient ocean sustains marine life and functioning ecosystems that support rich biodiversity, food security and sustainable livelihoods
Why It Matters
Our oceans have absorbed most of the planet’s warming—over 90%—and a significant amount of our carbon pollution. Warmer oceans are driving stronger storms and bleaching coral reefs. As oceans absorb carbon dioxide, they become more acidic, threatening most shelled organisms, including small crustaceans fundamental to the marine food chain.
The world’s oceans are a lifeline for people around the world, generating at least $2.5 trillion worth of products and services each year. Fishing alone supports more than 260 million jobs. Only a healthy ocean can keep this economic engine running.
Seafood is the major source of protein for roughly a billion people. But according to the UN Food & Agriculture Organizatione out of every three assessed wild fish populations have been harvested beyond their limit and cannot handle the pressure that would come from adding more boats, nets, or poles. There are also regions with little enforcement of rules where the most destructive fishing practices continue to damage habitats and ecosystems, as well as the marine life that call them home.
Scientists estimate more than 2 million species live in ocean waters and nine out of 10 haven’t been fully identified. The Marine Living Planet Index recorded a 36% overall decline in the abundance of marine life between 1970 and 2012. Unsustainable fishing is the primary direct threat to marine population, followed by habitat changes, which can also include a loss of food sources.
What WWF Is Doing
- Brad Ack Vice President and Senior Fellow, Fisheries
- Michele Kuruc Vice President, Ocean Policy
- Leigh Henry Director, Wildlife Policy, Wildlife Conservation
- Margaret Williams Managing Director, Arctic Program
- Lauren Spurrier Vice President, Ocean Conservation
- Bill Fox Vice President, Fisheries
- Elisabeth Kruger Senior Program Officer, Arctic Wildlife
- Linwood Pendleton Global Oceans Lead Scientist