Why do we focus on protecting wild ocean places?
How can we save the living oceans for us and future generations? There are three main approaches. The first is to save marine species one-by-one. The second is to stop bad things from happening everywhere in the sea. And the third is to protect specific places in our oceans. Marine Conservation Institute does all of these, but our special focus is saving wild ocean places. Here’s why:
Protecting species requires lots of knowledge. What’s really threatening them? What makes them vulnerable? What’s the most cost-effective approach to saving them? What population sizes or trends do we need to observe to know we don’t need to be concerned? We know answers to these questions for relatively few species on land. Getting this knowledge is far more difficult in the oceans, yet there is much less money for ocean research. Saving ocean species one-by-one can be difficult unless we know a lot.
Stopping bad things everywhere is difficult because people in different places have different concerns. Not everyone understands that healthy oceans are in their vital interest or how much some human activities threaten marine life. That’s why some nations continue to kill great whales, use destructive fishing gear, throw plastic garbage in the sea or burn coal. They don’t understand that everyone’s responsible for protecting the oceans.
Protecting places is far more effective, with lower cost and lower need for global agreement. People understand the need to protect places. That’s why we’ve given some protection to 12% of the land. But only about 1% of the ocean gets any protection, and far less gets the strong protection it needs.
Marine Conservation Institute is the only major marine conservation organization focused on protecting the oceans’ most important places. We do it because resources are always limiting, because time is short and because protecting places works.