What We Do

  • Global Ocean Refuge System

    The Global Ocean Refuge System (GLORES) is a science-based, collaborative and international effort designed to catalyze strong protection for at least 20% of the ecosystems in each marine biogeographic region of the world’s oceans by 2030 ― enough to safeguard all marine species from extinction. As an organization that seeks to secure protection for wild ocean places, the majority of Marine Conservation Institute's programs support GLORES.

    To take the Global Ocean Refuge System to the next phase, we completed a strategic business plan.  This plan will help us secure partners and investors to make GLORES a reality.  We invite you to review the plan, provide feedback and join us as we seek to secure lasting conservation for our oceans.

    The scientific criteria for designating Global Ocean Refuges are currently under evaluation. There are many complex interacting factors to evaluate including which marine areas to protect, what constitutes strong protection and how to effectively manage and enforce these areas. We are collaboratively piloting the draft criteria on select marine areas with other marine scientists and conservation organizations- including the University of California Davis, Bodega Marine Laboratory.

    Partner support is critical to the success of the Global Ocean Refuge System. Strong partner momentum for the initiative continues to build as additional partner and donor support from several different sectors- marine scientists, conservation organizations, corporations, the travel and tourism industry and foundations- joins the initiative!

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  • MPAtlas.org & SeaStates Reports

    MPAtlas.org, the world's most comprehensive marine protected area database, is another top-priority initiative of Marine Conservation Institute. We continue to update this conservation tool to provide the most up-to-date information for viewers, expand our collaborations with conservation organizations, add new information layers to the interactive map and conduct additional research. MPAtlas.org is a strong foundation piece for the Global Ocean Refuge System

    In July 2015, we released SeaStates US 2015the third annual ranking of how well US states protect their coastal waters.  The reports provide strong data supporting the need for the Global Ocean Refuge System. Stay tuned for future SeaStates reports!

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  • Hawaiian Monk Seal Conservation

    Marine Conservation Institute completed the first comprehensive report on human-monk seal interactions that identifies the human activities negatively affecting the critically endangered Hawaiian monk seal. The report is being used to identify and mitigate harmful interactions with fishermen, scuba divers, beachgoers and more. We continue to work on implementing the report’s recommendations to meet the conservation needs of the seal, while also educating key decision-makers on the conservation status of the United States’ most endangered seal.

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  • Stopping Pirate Fishing

    Pirate fishing, known more formally as Illegal, Unregulated and Unreported (IUU) fishing, is occurring around the globe. Fishing boats operating outside the bounds of agreed upon management are sucking up ocean life in places off limits to fishing or in amounts that are unsustainable and not allowed. Well-documented studies estimate that this international crime accounts for about 1 out of every 5 fish caught, at least 10-23 billion dollars per year. Marine Conservation Institute has been fighting to pass US legislation for 3 years to enhance the laws against this crime and will continue to push the US Congress to take stronger action until we achieve success.

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  • Deep Sea Coral Habitat Modeling

    Marine Conservation Institute scientists spent five weeks exploring seafloor habitats found on the Louisville Ridge seamounts east of New Zealand in 2014, testing deep-sea coral predictive habitat models. The modeling techniques were developed by our team of scientists and our international colleagues to detect biologically important areas of the oceans that need protection. This work, continuing in 2015, will be important for the Global Ocean Refuge System.  We are also currently working on predictive habitat modeling projects in the Gulf of Mexico, Alaska and the high seas.


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  • Aleutian Islands Conservation

    The western Aleutian Islands, an area so remote that it is closer to Russia than the mainland of the US, hosts an incredible diversity of life above and below the ocean's surface. Steller sea lions, sea otters, millions of seabirds and cold water corals abound. But many of these populations are declining due to overfishing and destructive bottom trawling. Marine Conservation Institute is working on solutions to this systemic problem in 2015 and advocating conservation strategies that protect wildlife and native people from this slow and unnecessary decline in biodiversity.


  • Local Solutions to Ocean Acidification

    Marine Conservation Institute is mapping out areas that could become new salt marsh habitat as sea level rises in Pacific and Grays Harbor counties in the US state of Washington.  Management options would include protecting new marsh areas as “blue carbon areas,” areas that have more vegetation and therefore absorb carbon dioxide. These areas could potentially lessen the local effects of ocean acidification.


  • Sustainable Seafood and Ocean Education

    Now in the 6th year of our partnership with Holland America Line and Seabourn, Marine Conservation Institute works to ensure that sustainably caught seafood is highlighted onboard to guests.  We also are working with Holland America Line to educate their guests about the marine protected areas they visit on their voyages.

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