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Why Protect the Ocean?

The ocean generates over half of the oxygen we breathe.

Phytoplankton, tiny marine plants that live on the ocean’s surface, photosynthesize and produce an estimated 50-80% of Earth’s oxygen.

The ocean contains more than 97% of the world’s water.

The ocean covers approximately 71% of the planet and contains over one billion cubic kilometers of water!

A healthy ocean regulates climate and reduce climate change impacts.

Ocean currents distribute heat across the globe, regulating temperature and weather. The ocean also absorbs over 90% of the heat and approximately 30% of carbon dioxide emissions produced by human activities.

The ocean provides at least one fifth of the animal protein people eat.

The ocean plays an important role in food security, accounting for 20% of global animal protein consumption and over 50% in many developing nations.

The ocean provides millions of livelihoods that stimulate local and global economies.

The blue economy employs millions of people across the globe, particularly in developing countries, and contributes several trillion dollars of goods and services to the global economy annually.

Ocean ecosystems contain ingredients for critical medications.

Over 10,000 compounds have been extracted from marine environments, which have been used in biomedical research, medications, treatments, and diagnostic testing.

The ocean creates an important form of transportation.

About 90% of global trade is carried by sea, as well as being an important source of passenger transport and tourism.

The ocean provides an incredible source of beauty, inspiration, and recreation.

The ocean provides a vast array of recreational opportunities, including diving, snorkeling, boating, fishing, swimming, and many others. Coastal and marine tourism account for a large proportion of global tourism, as people flock to the beauty of the seas.

The ocean supports an incredible diversity of life.

Scientists estimate that over two million species inhabit the marine environment, but we have yet to discover and catalog over 90% of them!

The ocean is the largest ecosystem on Earth, and it is the planet’s life support system.

The ocean is essential for all life on Earth, including humans. To ensure a sustainable future, we must protect and preserve healthy marine ecosystems.

For far too long, people assumed that the ocean was limitless and immune to human impacts.

Only recently, scientists have come to understand the devastating impact and continued threat of human activities. Overfishing, climate change, pollution, habitat destruction, invasive species, and other forms of human exploitation have put our ocean at risk. No area has been left untouched.

“With every drop of water you drink, every breath you take, you’re connected to the sea.”
— Sylvia Earle

Now is the time to act.

Marine Conservation Institute works to defend our ocean by advocating for stronger protections, visualizing conservation in the Marine Protection Atlas, and strengthening marine protections through Blue Parks. We are working to save the ocean for all of us and future generations.

Each and every one of us can make a difference.