/ ©: Jürgen Freund / WWF

Healthy oceans are a source of food security, livelihoods and jobs. But despite these benefits, the sea and marine wildlife continue to be damaged by human activities.

WWF works to protect and restore ocean health, so that it continues to support the lives of billions.
 / ©: WWF
MPA Infographics
© WWF

Everyone is linked to the ocean

The world's oceans and coasts are home to an incredible array of life – and vital to human health, livelihoods and cultures.

  • Nearly 3 billion people rely on fish as a major source of animal protein
  • More than 1 billion people live in poor coastal communities with direct connections to the sea
  • Roughly half of the world’s population lives within 100 km of the coast
  • Oceans produce about 50% of the oxygen we breathe, and absorb roughly a quarter of our CO2 emissions
  • 13 of the world’s megacities lie along coasts
  • The marine tourism industry provides 200 million jobs worldwide
But damaging and unsustainable human activities are weakening oceans.

Fragile ecosystems such as corals are dying - coral are predicted to disappear by 2050 - some species are at risk of extinction and others with major commercial value are just a shadow of their former abundance. Why is that a problem? Coral reefs provide refuges and spawning grounds for a myriad of fish species and other marine life.

We pay the price – when oceans suffer, so do millions of people around the world, who depend directly on oceans to feed themselves and their families (read the stories on the Exposure website).

Find out more
 / ©: WWF
Find out more about the Reviving the Ocean Economy report, including summary and infographics ►

What WWF is doing

Our decades of experience, from the Gulf of Mexico to the Southern Oceans, has shown that people are key to sustain oceans. Through projects that respond to people’s needs – for food, jobs, well-being – over the long term we can revive this complex but priceless biological engine which we all depend on.

WWF promotes a Sustainable Blue Economy to ensure that the economic development of the ocean contributes to true prosperity and resilience, today and long into the future.

We carry out our work through a large-scale, holistic approach that involves:
  • sustainably managing fisheries and other marine resources through ecosystem-based management.
  • supporting the establishment of well-managed, representative networks of Marine Protected Areas
To achieve these goals, WWF relies on 5 strategies:
  • Advocate for integrated ocean management
  • Support small-scale fisheries and sustainable aquaculture
  • Promote the value of services provided by ecosystems
  • Manage the impacts of extractive industries (e.g. oil and gas and seabed mining)
  • Promote sustainable marine tourism
► Find out more

WWF's Global Marine Programme supports the conservation of WWF's marine priority places and species (cetaceans, turtles and sharks), as well as the work of relevant Global Initiatives – Smart Fishing, Market Transformation, Coral Triangle, Coastal East Africa and Arctic.

Saving sharks

The WWF and TRAFFIC Shark & Ray Initiative aims to improve the management of shark fisheries, reduce demand and move international trade in sharks and rays toward sustainability. find out more ►

Hover over and click each marine Priority Place to find out more:

For a larger version of this map, please click here.

Arctic Gulf of California Mesoamerican Reef Galapagos Southern Chile Baltic Sea Mediterranean Yellow Sea Madagascar Coral Triangle Coastal East Africa Southwest Pacific Southern Oceans

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