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Oceans Stories

diomede island arctic

Lack of winter sea ice disrupts life in the Arctic

It’s the second-worst winter for sea ice in the Arctic. As this rapid warming trend continues, entire ecosystems are unraveling and the consequences are impacting daily life in the Arctic as well as life in coastal communities thousands of miles away.

  • Blue Economy Challenge invites new solutions for our oceans

    February 29, 2016

    Do you have the best recipe for a seaweed shake? Have you been inspired by other ways we can farm fish? If so, you need to check out the Blue Economy Challenge. Together with the innovationXchange of the Australian Government, Conservation X Labs, NineSigma, SecondMuse, WWF has launched a new competition to source creative solutions and engage new solvers to rethink the future of aquaculture—also known as farmed fish.

    Seaweed farming in Arenas Reef, Phillipines
  • Protecting freshwater seals in Alaska’s Lake Iliamna

    February 25, 2016

    Alaska's Lake Iliamna is home to a population of around 400 harbor seals, which feast on fish and bask on the rocky islands at the lake’s northeastern end. They are under threat from Pebble Mine, the enormous open-pit gold and copper mine proposed for headwaters just 17 miles northwest of the seals’ haul-out sites

    lake iliamna
  • Taking action to safeguard Belize’s coast and ocean

    The government of Belize has announced its commitment to a new coastal management plan that will boost the health of the country’s coastal and marine areas, on which more than 40 percent of Belizeans rely.

    coastal belize
  • Taking care of the ocean environment

    Growing demand for seafood has left Malaysia's seas nearly empty. As communities face the reality that fishing is no longer enough to support the economy, they are hoping tourism can create new opportunities. Community members like Yusef Bural, chairman of the Banggi Youth Club, and his brother, are working to protect Malaysia's islands and coasts and are inspiring youth to do the same.


    Yusef Bural and his brother on a dock in the ocean
  • New US rule proposed to combat black market fishing

    February 04, 2016

    In a critical step forward to stop the trade of illegal and unreported fish in seafood imports, the US government has proposed a new rule for a seafood program that will trace from the moment fish are caught, until they reach the US border.

    trawler too close to shore
  • Partnering with Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. to help conserve the oceans

    January 25, 2016

    WWF and Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. (RCL) recently announced a five-year partnership underpinned by specific and measurable goals to help ensure the long-term health of the oceans.

  • An artist's push to protect Alaska's breathtaking Bristol Bay

    January 19, 2016

    Apayo Moore and other young leaders like Alannah Hurley, Verner Wilson, and Katherine Carscallen have helped organize resistance to a mine that would negatively impact Bristol Bay: through public meetings, letter-writing campaigns and demonstrations, and testifying to all who will listen about the splendors of bay's salmon runs.

    artist Apayo Moore
  • How climate change relates to oceans

    December 01, 2015

    The interaction between climate and oceans is altering, and the exchange is intensifying. As the climate responds to decades of increasing carbon emissions, the store of energy and heat from the atmosphere builds up in the ocean. If we reach a tipping point, we will likely see more extreme weather events, changing ocean currents, rising sea levels and temperatures, and melting of sea ice and ice sheets.

    sunset over ocean
  • Celebrating our conservation successes of 2015

    Every so often, it’s important to pause, take a step back, and celebrate the progress we’ve made together in conserving the world’s wildlife and beautiful places. And this year gave us much to applaud. Though our conservation challenges persist and there’s still much work to be done, we all need take a moment to appreciate just how far we’ve come by working in tandem to protect the planet we love.

    african elephants in KAZA
  • Australian government bans dumping in the Great Barrier Reef

    November 12, 2015

    In a landmark victory for the Great Barrier Reef, the Australian government passed a much-anticipated bill to ban dredge dumping in the World Heritage waters. This law closes for good a legal loophole that could have allowed 46 million cubic meters of seabed to be dug up and dumped in this fragile ecosystem.

    aerial view of Great Barrier Reef
  • As the Arctic goes, so goes the planet

    November 10, 2015

    The pressures driving desires to develop the Arctic are not unfamiliar to us. We see them in these other magnificent places. Expedited transportation routes. New fossil fuel reserves. Robust new fisheries. But we need to ensure that the push to exploit these resources does not overrun efforts to conserve them. We need to keep in mind some guiding principles.

    Icebergs in Norway
  • Teaming up to save polar bears in their Arctic home

    Experts around the globe are collaborating to develop a recovery plan for polar bears. In the past year, a team of more than 30 polar bear experts—including WWF’s Elisabeth Kruger—put their heads together with the US Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) to map out a path toward polar bear resiliency in the Arctic.

    Polar bear on edge of an ice floe
  • Stark white, unpainted canvas of coral bleaching threatens oceans

    October 26, 2015

    When you think about the impacts of climate change on the marine environment, your first thought might be the melting polar ice caps. Yet corals are among the most sensitive ecosystems to warming oceans and may be the most impacted by climate change in the near future.

    coral bleaching
  • President Obama cancels 2016 and 2017 oil lease sales in the Chukchi and Beaufort seas

    October 19, 2015

    The Obama Administration has cancelled the two potential Arctic offshore oil lease sales in the Chukchi and Beaufort seas that were threatening the future of this region. The newly cancelled leases were scheduled for 2016 and 2017 under the current five-year offshore oil and gas leasing program for 2012-2017, and the decision was made based on the poor “current market conditions and low industry interest.”

    Beluga Whales Chukchi Sea
  • Bill Reilly headshot
  • A breaching humpback whale off the coast of Madagascar
  • Are We Buying the Fish We Think We’re Buying?

    October 14, 2015

    WWF is urging the US government to establish regulations, including the proposal of a national traceability program to track seafood from the point where it is caught to its entry into the US, under which all species of fish are eventually covered.

    fishermen on a boat
  • Conserving Our Oceans through ‘Sea Scout'

    October 05, 2015

    In another critical step to protect oceans and conserve marine ecosystems, President Obama announced the development of important new tools to combat the global threat of illegal fishing at the ‘Our Oceans’ conference in Valparaiso, Chile. A new global initiative will focus on fisheries enforcement at sea.

    a fishing boat at sea
  • Shell Abandons Drilling in America's Arctic Ocean

    September 28, 2015

    After years of searching for oil in the cold and turbulent waters of Alaska’s Chukchi Sea, Royal Dutch Shell has abandoned its plans to drill for the “foreseeable future.” This announcement is the conclusion of weeks of summer exploration, where results of drilling to a depth of 6,800 feet indicated oil and gas findings were “not sufficient to warrant further exploration.”

    Beluga Whales Chukchi Sea
  • An uncertain future for our living blue planet

    September 15, 2015

    WWF’s Living Blue Planet Report on the health of the ocean finds that the marine vertebrate population has declined by 49 percent between 1970 and 2012. The report tracks 5,829 populations of 1,234 mammal, bird, reptile, and fish species through a marine living planet index. The evidence, analyzed by researchers at the Zoological Society of London, paints a troubling picture. 

    fish swimming in a school
  • As Arctic Ice Melts, Orcas Move in

    September 10, 2015

    For another year, Arctic sea ice will cover much less of the Arctic Ocean than it used to. And with less ice comes more killer whales—predators that feed on other whales, including some recovering species.

    orcas in Arctic
  • Working Together for Bold Action on Climate Change

    September 01, 2015

    On August 31, 2015, President Obama and leaders of the Arctic nations met in Alaska where they pledged to work together, and with others, to boost strong action on climate change.

    MID 229645
  • Species that Suffer from Illegal Activities on the Ocean

    Illegal activities on the ocean include breaking fishing laws, poaching, ignoring marine protected areas, and polluting. Such actions contaminate or destroy delicate marine habitats—including coral reefs or sea turtle nesting beaches—and they deplete fish populations, upsetting the entire marine food chain. Countless species of marine animals die when accidentally caught in fishing gear; many of these animals are already victims of illegal harvest and trade.

    bluefin tuna
  • Approval of Shell Drilling Permit Brings Renewed Risk to the Arctic

    July 23, 2015

    The US government has given approval to Royal Dutch Shell to conduct exploratory drilling for oil in the Arctic Ocean off Alaska. WWF has long opposed drilling in this region, which is crucial for wildlife, fisheries and local people.

    whale calf Chukchi Sea