What We Do: Protecting Our Oceans

Dive into Greenpeace's Oceans campaign and learn how you can help us stop overfishing, end commercial whaling, and create worldwide marine reserves - including the Bering Sea.

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Vision for healthy oceans

Fortunately, we are within reach of a world that treats the oceans, its inhabitants, and the people who depend upon it with respect. Greenpeace and its supporters have already made huge strides in protecting whales and tuna, advocating in cooperation with coastal communities, and setting aside key areas from industrial fishing. We must continue to build on our successes and instill a precautionary approach to ocean exploitation. Read more about our vision of a healthy ocean here.

Our vision for healthy oceans

For more than 40 years, Greenpeace has taken to the oceans to protect them, the life within them, and the people who depend upon them. Our activists have traveled to the frontlines of ocean destruction. Our expert campaigners have sat down with the largest corporations and governments to achieve key policy changes. And our scientists have produced vital research that has let the world know the extent of ocean beauty, mystery, and vulnerability.

Ocean health is central to our mission. And despite the many threats and challenges our ocean faces, we know that change is possible. But change will only come if people come together, bravely and loudly, and demand change from their governments, retailers, and neighbors.

  • We can end overfishing by putting limits on the methods and practices of industrial fishing companies and factory fishing vessels.  READ MORE about overfishing 

  • We can start to rebuild fish and whale populations by pushing the international community to set aside marine reserves, particularly in the high seas, waters not part of any country’s territory.  READ MORE about marine reserves 

  • If consumers are aware of the impact of their shopping practices, they can join us to force change through seafood markets. We can foster a vigorous market for sustainable seafood by pushing our retailers and producers.  READ MORE about sustainable seafood 

  • As citizens, we can demand that our governments pursue national and international policies that make outdated, unnecessary practices like whaling and overfishing of tuna illegal.  READ MORE about whaling 

  • We can preserve vital ocean habitats teeming with life, keeping those places safe from destructive fishing practices. At Greenpeace USA, we are starting with the Bering Sea’s Zhemchug and Pribilof canyons, massive underwater canyons home to countless critical species. READ MORE about the Bering Sea 

All of these individual campaigns are united by one core goal: It is time the global community makes a good faith effort to set aside a large portion of the oceans as marine reserves. Marine reserves are places where destructive or extractive practices, like fishing, dumping, whaling, and other industrial activities, are forbidden.

Currently only one percent of the world’s oceans are set aside as marine reserves. Consider that 70 percent of the planet is covered by oceans. Consider also that a full 13 percent of land is under protection. We have exploited the oceans so fully that habitats and marine life need time—and above all, space—to recover. One percent is just not enough.

For too long, we have treated the oceans as a global commons that anybody can exploit

Global oceans deserve our respect and protection.

That is why we are advocating for a series of connected marine reserves comprising up to 40 percent of ocean area. That includes connected areas in countries’ exclusive economic zones, as well as areas in the high seas, which no nation can claim.

The global community is waking up to the importance of marine reserves. As recently as September 2014, the US Government set aside almost 500,000 square miles in the remote Pacific to create the world’s largest fully protected reserve. But it’s up to us—Greenpeace, our supporters, and our allies—to not let world leaders rest until the oceans have the protected space they need.

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