What We Do

  • Global Ocean Refuge System

    The Global Ocean Refuge System (GLORES) is a science-based, collaborative and international effort designed to catalyze strong protection for at least 30% of the habitat types in each marine ecoregion of the world’s oceans by 2030 ― enough to safeguard all marine species from extinction. As an organization that seeks to secure protection for wild ocean places, the majority of Marine Conservation Institute's programs support GLORES.

    To take GLORES to the next phase, we completed a strategic business plan. This plan will help us secure partners and investors to make GLORES a reality. We invite you to review the plan, provide feedback and join us as we seek to secure lasting conservation for our oceans.

    The scientific criteria for designating Global Ocean Refuges are currently under evaluation. We are collaboratively piloting the draft criteria on select marine areas with other marine scientists and conservation organizations.

    Partner support is critical to the success of the Global Ocean Refuge System. Strong partner momentum for the initiative continues to build as additional partner and donor support from several different sectors- marine science, conservation, the travel and tourism and foundation- joins the initiative!

    » Click to learn more
  • MPAtlas.org & SeaStates Reports

    MPAtlas.org, the world's most comprehensive marine protected area database, is another top-priority initiative of Marine Conservation Institute. We continue to update this conservation tool to provide the most up-to-date information for viewers, expand our collaborations with conservation organizations, add new information layers to the interactive map and conduct additional research. MPAtlas.org is a strong foundation piece for the Global Ocean Refuge System

    In June 2016, we released the NA SeaStates 2016 report titled Dare to be Deep: SeaStates Report on North America's Marine Protected Areas (MPAs). The report evaluates the status of North America's marine protected areas and shows that the US, Canada, and Mexico are far from their goal of protecting 10% of their oceans by 2020. The report results point to what needs to be done to more fully protect our marine areas. Stay tuned for our annual SeaStates reports!

    » Click to learn more

  • Hawaiian Monk Seal Conservation

    Marine Conservation Institute completed the first comprehensive report on human-monk seal interactions that identifies the human activities negatively affecting the critically endangered Hawaiian monk seal. The report is being used to identify and mitigate harmful interactions with fishermen, scuba divers, beachgoers and more. We continue to work on implementing the report’s recommendations to meet the conservation needs of the seal, while also educating key decision-makers on the conservation status of the United States’ most endangered seal.

    » Click to learn more
  • Stopping Pirate Fishing

    Pirate fishing, known more formally as Illegal, Unregulated and Unreported (IUU) fishing, is occurring around the globe. Fishing boats operating outside the bounds of agreed upon management are sucking up ocean life in places off limits to fishing or in amounts that are unsustainable and not allowed. Well-documented studies estimate that this international crime accounts for about 1 out of every 5 fish caught, at least 10-23 billion dollars per year. Marine Conservation Institute has been fighting to pass US legislation for 3 years to enhance the laws against this crime and will continue to push the US Congress to take stronger action until we achieve success.

    » Click to learn more
  • Deep Sea Coral Habitat Modeling

    Marine Conservation Institute scientists use predictive habitat modeling as a tool to detect and characterize ecologically important areas of the oceans that warrant protection. In 2014, a Marine Conservation Institute scientist spent five weeks exploring seamounts off the east coast of New Zealand to test deep-sea coral predictive habitat models. Currently, staff scientists are developing a variety of models for vulnerable deep-sea coral and sponge species throughout the Pacific Ocean. These predictive habitat models provide critical support for Marine Conservation Institute’s advocacy for the protection of deep-sea ecosystems. 


    » Click to learn more
  • Aleutian Islands Conservation

    The western Aleutian Islands, an area so remote that it is closer to Russia than the mainland of the US, hosts an incredible diversity of life above and below the ocean's surface. Steller sea lions, sea otters, millions of seabirds and cold water corals abound. But many of these populations are declining due to overfishing and destructive bottom trawling. Marine Conservation Institute is working on solutions to this systemic problem in 2016 and advocating conservation strategies that protect wildlife and native people from this slow and unnecessary decline in biodiversity.


  • Local Solutions to Ocean Acidification

    Marine Conservation Institute is mapping out areas that could become new salt marsh habitat as sea level rises in Pacific and Grays Harbor counties in the US state of Washington. Management options would include protecting new marsh areas as “blue carbon areas,” areas that have more vegetation and therefore absorb carbon dioxide. These areas could potentially lessen the local effects of ocean acidification. Marine Conservation Institute is developing models to map out areas of the Puget Sound (Washington State, USA) that are projected to become new salt marsh habitat as sea level rises. If these newly created marsh areas are adequately protected, they may act as ‘blue carbon’ hotspots that absorb significant amounts of carbon dioxide. Salt marshes are some of the most effective naturally occurring carbon capturing ecosystems and are therefore a critical mitigation and adaption tool in efforts to combat climate change. By removing excess carbon dioxide, these areas may mitigate the local effects of ocean acidification and increase the quality of neighboring marine habitats.


  • Sustainable Seafood and Ocean Education

    Now in the 6th year of our partnership with Holland America Line, Marine Conservation Institute works to educate their guests about the marine protected areas they visit on their voyages.

    » Click to learn more