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Oceans Stories

bottlenose dolphin swimming in Belize

Making the financial case for protecting Belize’s barrier reef

A first-of-its-kind report, released in collaboration with our partners in the region, warns that Belize stands to lose millions in revenue generated by one sector alone if protections for the reef aren’t put in place and enforced.

  • 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
  • The World from a Sea Turtle's Point of View

    July 09, 2015

    To better understand the post-release behavior of tagged green turtles, WWF and partners carefully fastened a GoPro—a tiny waterproof camera—to the back of a female sea turtle. The 15 minutes of footage the camera collected gives us a unique view of the Great Barrier Reef.

    Green turtle swimming in Great Barrier Reef
  • Swimming with Sharks and Conserving Oceans

    July 02, 2015

    Swimming with sharks in Fiji is a conservation success; the communities that once harvested these sharks are now fully included in the dive venture, and continue to profit from the tourism they attract. Experiences like this reaffirm the work WWF is doing, advocating our efforts in moving the needle forward and making a lasting positive impact on the environment and people’s lives. It goes to show that we can learn from our experiences and become a wiser species.

    bull sharks swimming
  • An End to Great Barrier Reef Dumping Is Imminent

    July 01, 2015

    A full ban on dumping in the Great Barrier Reef should come to fruition in a matter of months. The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) World Heritage Committee has voted to maintain pressure on Australia to deliver on its promise to restore the health of the reef.

    Great Barrier Reef fish
  • What it takes to protect the oceans from illegal activities

    Illegal activities hurt our oceans, harming wildlife, people and ocean resources. We must use all the tools available to combat illegal activity. WWF identifies six essential components of a global strategy to fight illegality on the oceans.

    ocean wave
  • Conserving the Future of Mahi Mahi in Peru

    June 08, 2015

    WWF's Alison Cross reflects on her experience visiting Peru's only mahi mahi fishery. Fishers and their families rely on abundant fish stocks for their livelihoods. The fishers of Pucusana, government officials and others had finally recognized both the economic and environmental value of selling a sustainably sourced fish, with the long-term goal of achieving certification from the Marine Stewardship Council, an organization that recognizes sustainable fishing practices.

    pucusana fisherman
  • Boosting the Ocean Economy

    June 04, 2015

    The economic value of marine ecosystem services to people and communities is expected to increase with the expansion of marine protected areas (MPAs), according to analysis of new research commissioned by WWF.

    fishing net and men
  • US Government Gives Conditional Approval to Shell for Exploratory Drilling in America’s Arctic

    May 11, 2015

    WWF today called on the U.S. government to prohibit offshore oil and gas drilling activities in the Chukchi and Beaufort seas off of Alaska, and not to issue any new permits until companies demonstrate that they can drill safely in the region.

    Beluga Whales Chukchi Sea
  • Six Steps to Trace Seafood from Bait to Plate

    April 29, 2015

    Black market fishing is a global challenge which threatens the current health of our oceans as well as the livelihoods of those who rely on marine goods and services. There is an urgent need to find a way to verify the legal origin of seafood from bait to plate. WWF outlines six steps toward seafood traceability to help combat black market fishing.

  • Oceans under Threat from Illegal Fishing

    WWF Magazine: Summer 2015
    It’s devastating wild fisheries and undercutting honest fishing communities across the globe.
    Shrimpers work the waters off the Texas coast
  • Ocean Assets Valued at $24 Trillion, but Dwindling Fast

    April 22, 2015

    Our oceans are worth at least $24 trillion, according to a new WWF report Reviving the Ocean Economy: The Case for Action–2015. And goods and services from coastal and marine environments amount to about $2.5 trillion each year—that would put the ocean as the seventh largest economy in the world if put into terms of Gross Domestic Product.

    fishing net