Our Conservation Priorities for 2016

Protecting wild ocean places, for us and future generations

Catalyzing marine protected area designations

The Global Ocean Refuge System (GLORES) aims to catalyze strong protection for 30% of the ecosystems in each marine biogeographic region of the world's oceans by 2030. GLORES incentivizes countries to strongly protect their marine resources by awarding top-tier protected areas gold, silver or bronze "Global Ocean Refuge" status using scientific criteria.

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Photo: Brian Skerry

Securing protection for important ecosystems in US waters

Marine Conservation Institute is working to secure lasting protection for important and vulnerable ecosystems including the Western Aleutian Archipelago, Central Pacific Islands, Arctic Ocean and offshore canyons and seamounts.

Photo: Brian Skerry

Developing new tools to advance scientific understanding

Marine Conservation Institute’s experts are collaborating with ESRI, the global leader in geospatial technology, to create the world’s first, three-dimensional map of our oceans. This map and the pioneering technology developed to produce it will help scientists, conservationists and decision makers better understand the oceans and revolutionize how we conserve this vital resource.

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Tracking and communicating conservation progress with MPAtlas.org

MPAtlas.org is the world's most comprehensive and continuously updated marine protected areas database. Check out the cutting-edge analyses in the SeaStates report series, rankings of how well global coastal waters are protected.

Visit MPAtlas.org

Mapping vulnerable marine ecosystems on the high seas

Our scientists are identifying important deep sea ecosystems and creating maps to aid our colleagues in the Deep Sea Conservation Coalition and High Seas Alliance in advocating protection for the high seas.

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Adapting to a changing world

Marine Conservation Institute is working to improve information about the risk of climate change and ocean acidification to marine ecosystems and local communities, and develop conservation strategies to improve ecosystem resilience.

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Photo: Paul Nicklen

Promoting sustainable tourism

Marine Conservation Institute and Holland America Line collaborate to bring onboard educational programming to guests and crew featuring marine protected areas and conservation efforts around the world. We also work together to provide responsibly sourced seafood options to their guests.

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Photo: Holland America Line

Ensuring effective policies for healthy marine life

We work to ensure effective conservation, management and governance for critically important places and marine life. We synthesize vitally important scientific and policy information and encourage decision makers to prioritize actions that will ensure healthy oceans now and for future generations.

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On the Tide

Blog April 26, 2016
The Future of Marine Conservation: Local and Global Perspective

We are pleased to share our publication ‘The Future of Marine Conservation: Local and Global ... » read more

Blog April 21, 2016
How Much is Enough?

One of the questions I am asked most frequently is how much of the ocean ... » read more

Blog April 7, 2016
Where are they now?

Marine Conservation Institute is dedicated to securing permanent, strong protection for the oceans’ most important ... » read more

Blog April 1, 2016
Green Light in the Galápagos

Marine Conservation Institute is thrilled by Ecuadorian President Rafael Correa’s declaration to strongly protect ... » read more

News Release March 28, 2016
Marine Conservation Institute Urges the Preparatory Committee on Sustainable Use and Conservation of Marine Diversity on the High Seas to Include Fully-Protected Areas as a Key Goal of New Agreement

Washington, DC—March 28, 2016—Marine Conservation Institute, a leader in protecting marine biodiversity, urges ... » read more


View our 2014 Annual Report


More emphasis is needed on better marine protected area design, durable management and compliance to ensure that marine protected areas achieve their desired conservation value. It is a complex undertaking, but one that needs to happen.
Dr. Graham J. Edgar
Institute for Marine and Antarctic Studies, University of Tasmania
Marine-protected areas are clearly a positive trend, a reflection of the growing awareness of governments across the globe that the oceans and their bounty are not limitless or indestructible.
The New York Times
Editorial Board (February 15, 2014)
Well-enforced no-take marine reserves universally increase diversity, size, abundance, and biomass of fish inside their boundaries, which makes them very attractive to tourism. The Global Ocean Refuge System will help the world create more of these no-take marine reserves.
Dr. Enric Sala
Explorer-in-Residence, National Geographic Society
Governments and scientists need to work together to better design, maintain, improve and protect ‘protected areas.’
The New York Times
Editorial Board (February 15, 2014)
The Global Ocean Refuge System is critical to saving the biodiversity of our oceans. It makes so much sense, we all should have thought of it a long time ago.
Dr. Sylvia Earle
Renowned Ocean Conservationist
GLORES is the most exciting marine conservation initiative I’ve seen in a while! I think we urgently need something that can be an alternative to a simple rating of conservation success based on the number of square kilometers their MPAs cover.
Dr. Rodolphe Devillers
Memorial University of Newfoundland
The creation of a marine-protected area is only the start of an effective conservation effort, not the end.
The New York Times
Editorial Board (February 15, 2014)

Celebrating the Career of Our Founder Dr. Elliott Norse Upon His Retirement

President Lance Morgan Describes Marine Conservation Institute’s Important Work…