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Oceans. For centuries people have regarded them as an inexhaustible supply of food, a useful transport route, and a convenient dumping ground - simply too vast to be affected by anything we do.
But human activity, particularly over the last few decades, has finally pushed oceans to their limit.
Unstainable fishing: 76% of the world's fisheries are already fully exploited or overfished, while billions of unwanted fish and other animals die needlessly each year. Unsustainable fishing is the largest threat to ocean life and habitats.
Inadequate protection: They might cover over 70% of our planets surface, but only a tiny fraction of the oceans has been protected: just 0.6%. Even worse, the vast majority of the worlds few marine parks and reserves are protected in name only.
Tourism & development: Around the world, coastlines have been steadily turned into new housing and tourist developments, and many beaches all but disappear under flocks of holiday-makers each year.
Oil & gas: Important reserves of oil, gas, and minerals lie deep beneath the seafloor. However, prospecting and drilling for these poses a major threat to sensitive marine habitats and species.
Climate change: Coral bleaching, rising sea levels, changing species distributions - global warming and climate change are already having a marked affect on the oceans.
Pollution: Untreated sewage, garbage, fertilizers, pesticides, industrial chemicals and other pollutants eventually make their way into the ocean, either deliberately dumped there or entering from water run-off and the atmosphere.
� naturepl.com / Nuno Sa / WWF-Canon� naturepl.com / Alex Mustard / WWF-Canon
What WWF is doing for oceans, seas and coasts
� naturepl.com / Alex Mustard / WWF-Canon
Conserving entire ecoregions
Isolated marine parks cannot effectively safeguard ocean health. Neither can isolated instances of well-managed fisheries. Instead, we need to conserve and sustainably manage entire marine ecoregions.
We do this through a large-scale, holistic approach that involves:
sustainably managing fisheries and other marine resources through ecosystem-based management;
establishing well-managed, representative networks of Marine Protected Areas
A collaborative approach
We work together with key partners and stakeholders such as fishers, local communities, governments, other conservation groups, and global conventions to find and implement innovative solutions.
We also help bring governments together to cooperate on managing their shared marine resources.
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