Safeguarding our oceans and coasts

WWF's Global Marine Programme works toward a future in which well-managed oceans and coasts are resilient, full of life and capable of supporting sustainable development.
A fisherman casts his fishing net on the coast at sunset Gabon.
© Martin Harvey / WWF

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:

What's the problem?

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

But damaging and unsustainable human activities are taking their toll on marine habitats, marine species and people around the world.

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.

The Global Marine Programme supports the conservation of WWF's marine priority places and species, as well as the work of relevant Global InitativesSmart Fishing, Market Transformation, Coral Triangle, Coastal East Africa and Arctic.

What is ecosystem-based management?

Ecosystem-based management (EBM) aims to achieve sustainable exploitation of natural resources by balancing the social and economic needs of human communities with the maintenance of healthy ecosystems.

EBM is a highly integrated, scientifically based approach that encompasses all the complexities of ecosystem dynamics, human dynamics, and the maintenance of diverse, functioning, and healthy ecosystems.

Marine ecosystems are very complex, our knowledge of them is limited, and the ways in which our activities affect them is poorly understood. The EBM approach to managing marine resources accepts that decisions will often be made in a climate of uncertainty. However, uncertainty should never be an excuse for inaction. Management decisions are best made using multiple lines of evidence and a precautionary approach: "when in doubt, err on the side of conservation".
 / ©: Brian J. Skerry / National Geographic Stock / WWF
Yellowfin tuna (Thunnus albacares) inside tuna pen, La Paz, Mexico. This is the world's only value-added Yellowfin tuna operation.
© Brian J. Skerry / National Geographic Stock / WWF

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