Vibrant Marine Life

We work to protect
biodiversity for future generations

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On the Tide

Blog April 22, 2014
Help Keep Our Earth Vibrant

Today is Earth Day and we all should give thanks to be living on such ... » read more

Blog April 16, 2014
Palau Gets It! Ocean Protection expected to pay big dividend

The island nation of Palau located in the western Pacific Ocean recently announced that it ... » read more

Blog April 14, 2014
Gulf Gems Still Shining – But What Does The Future Hold?

When the Deepwater Horizon disaster occurred in 2010, the fragility of the Gulf of Mexico ... » read more

News Release April 14, 2014
Marine Conservation Institute Releases Gulf Gems Report Highlighting Critical Areas to Protect in the Gulf of Mexico

Marine Conservation Institute today announced it has released a new report, Gulf Gems: Treasured Places ... » read more

Blog April 8, 2014
How to not “water down” marine protected areas

Several interesting scientific papers have recently documented the benefits of marine protected areas and the ... » read more

More emphasis is needed on better marine protected area design, durable management and compliance to ensure that marine protected areas achieve their desired conservation value. It is a complex undertaking, but one that needs to happen.
Dr. Graham J. Edgar
Institute for Marine and Antarctic Studies, University of Tasmania
Marine-protected areas are clearly a positive trend, a reflection of the growing awareness of governments across the globe that the oceans and their bounty are not limitless or indestructible.
The New York Times
Editorial Board (February 15, 2014)
Well-enforced no-take marine reserves universally increase diversity, size, abundance, and biomass of fish inside their boundaries, which makes them very attractive to tourism. The Global Ocean Refuge System will help the world create more of these no-take marine reserves.
Dr. Enric Sala
Explorer-in-Residence, National Geographic Society
Governments and scientists need to work together to better design, maintain, improve and protect ‘protected areas.’
The New York Times
Editorial Board (February 15, 2014)
The Global Ocean Refuge System is critical to saving the biodiversity of our oceans. It makes so much sense, we all should have thought of it a long time ago.
Dr. Sylvia Earle
Renowned Ocean Conservationist
GLORES is the most exciting marine conservation initiative I’ve seen in a while! I think we urgently need something that can be an alternative to a simple rating of conservation success based on the number of square kilometers their MPAs cover.
Dr. Rodolphe Devillers
Memorial University of Newfoundland
The creation of a marine-protected area is only the start of an effective conservation effort, not the end.
The New York Times
Editorial Board (February 15, 2014)

President Lance Morgan Describes Marine Conservation Institute’s Important Work…

To Build a Global Ocean Refuge System

On October 22, 2013, Marine Conservation Institute announced the Global Ocean Refuge System (GLORES), a comprehensive science-based strategy for advancing marine protected areas worldwide.

kingman.jpgOceans are essential to human survival and prosperity and yet human activities are pushing many critical marine species toward extinction. Marine protected areas are generally recognized as the best way to protect the diversity and abundance of the ocean's ecosystems, yet less than 2% of the ocean's area is now protected. GLORES (pronounced glôr-ees) will develop and manage objective criteria that incentivize and accelerate the creation of strongly protected marine areas worldwide.

How GLORES Will Work

GLORES is designed to catalyze strong protection for at least 20% of the ecosystems in each marine biogeographic region, enough to avert mass extinction. GLORES will transform marine conservation by:

  1. Using a scientifically sound biogeographic framework for protecting ecosystems.

  2. Establishing clear, transparent criteria for the best locations, strong protection, effective management and credible enforcement.

  3. Fostering improved cooperation among nonprofit and for-profit organizations to achieve GLORES goals.

  4. Incentivizing competition among countries and international governmental organizations for the prestige and economic benefits of earning Global Ocean Refuge status.

Learn more at

Top Ten from Twenty Thirteen

We're proud of what we've done for the ocean this year

Move your mouse over the images below to explore our accomplishments

  • Global Ocean Refuge System

    In October we announced a new strategic priority – the Global Ocean Refuge System (GLORES) - at the 3rd International Marine Protected Areas Congress. This is a long-term, science-based, collaborative and international effort designed to catalyze strong protection for all kinds of marine ecosystems in at least 20% of every ocean region and safeguard all marine species from extinction.

    Strategic priority

    » Click to learn more
  • Mesophotic Corals in the Great Barrier Reef

    Our marine scientists published a report on deep coral reef habitats for the Great Barrier Reef world heritage area in Australia. Results suggest that protecting deeper coral reefs serves as insurance against the widespread destruction of shallow reefs and their fish populations.

    Scientific support for protecting places in the sea

    » Click to learn more
  • Central American Dome

    In July, we joined our fellow conservation organizations in Panama to launch an effort to establish protections for the Central American Dome. This highly productive region of the eastern tropical Pacific is home to abundant marine life including critically endangered leatherback sea turtles and blue whales.

    Advocating for effective protection

    » Click to learn more
  • Fishing Regulations in US Pacific Islands Monuments

    Marine Conservation Institute played a lead role in advocating for the designation of the Pacific Remote Islands Marine National Monument in the central tropical Pacific Ocean in 2009, and in 2013 we successfully secured fishing regulations in the Monument. These regulations are the legal basis for the US Coast Guard to protect the Monument’s vibrant coral reefs and surrounding waters from illegal fishing.

    Advocating for effective protection

    » Click to learn more
  • New Zealand Ocean Acidification Workshop

    With New Zealand’s shellfish industry and Sustainable Fisheries Partnership we held the first-ever ocean acidification workshop, “Future proofing New Zealand’s shellfish aquaculture: monitoring and adaptation to ocean acidification.” This workshop builds on the very successful meeting we held in Washington’s Puget Sound region that brought together researchers and shellfish farmers to assess the risk of acidification to marine life and options for future adaptation.

    Partnering with business to advance ocean conservation

  • SeaStates 2013

    In May, we released SeaStates 2013, the first-ever ranking of how well US states protect their coastal waters. Only 3 states and territories – Hawaii, California and the US Virgin Islands – strongly protect more than 5% of their marine waters in no-take reserves, 9 states protect roughly 1% or less, and 15 states do not yet strongly protect any of their marine waters.

    Scientific support for protecting places in the sea

    » Click to learn more
  • US West Coast Essential Fish Habitat Proposals

    Using high-resolution habitat modeling developed by our team of scientists and our colleagues, we identified deep sea coral habitats along the west coast of the USA and are advocating to the Pacific Fishery Management Council for creating new Essential Fish Habitat conservation zones to protect the corals before they are destroyed by destructive fishing techniques.

    Advocating for effective protection

    » Click to learn more
  • Palmyra Shipwreck Removal

    In 1991, an abandoned fishing vessel wrecked on the near pristine coral reefs of Palmyra Atoll (now part of the Pacific Remote Islands Marine National Monument). After several years of work by our staff, we succeeded in securing funding for the US Fish and Wildlife Service to remove this wreck and restore these coral reefs. Work is now underway to eliminate this hazard to life on the reef.

    Advocating for effective protection

    » Click to learn more
  • is an online digital atlas of marine protected areas that tracks progress in protecting our oceans worldwide. In 2013 we secured additional support for this project and will be expanding and updating content to improve this site.

    Scientific support for protecting places in the sea

    » Click to learn more
  • Sustainable Seafood

    We renewed our 3-year partnership with Holland America Line and Seabourn to ensure that only sustainably caught seafood is served to onboard guests. Starting in 2014 we will be educating onboard guests about the need to protect marine areas.

    Partnering with business to advance ocean conservation

    » Click to learn more