Accomplishments Timeline

Conservation Priorities for 2014

Protecting wild ocean places, for us and future generations

  • Global Ocean Refuge System

    In October 2013 we announced a new strategic priority – the Global Ocean Refuge System (GLORES). This is a long-term, 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.

    Strategic priority

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  • Science-Based Criteria for Global Ocean Refuges

    At the International Marine Conservation Congress this summer we will be unveiling the scientific criteria that will underpin the Global Ocean Refuge System. There are many complex interacting factors to evaluate including which marine areas to protect, what constitutes strong protection, and how to manage and enforce the protection.

    Strategic priority
    Scientific support for protecting places in the sea

  • Scientists Support Letter for Marine Reserves

    To support the creation of more marine reserves, Marine Conservation Institute drafted and circulated a marine scientists’ letter calling on President Obama to strongly protect 20% of each ocean biogeographic region in the USA. Hundreds of scientists from around the world have been adding their names to this letter.

    Scientific support for protecting places in the sea

    » Click to learn more
  • Gulf Gems

    Our marine scientists published Gulf Gems: Treasured Places in Troubled Waters, a report highlighting critical areas in the Gulf of Mexico. The report aims to bring awareness to 10 spectacular places in the Gulf that are currently unprotected or under-protected from extractive and potentially damaging human activities.

    Scientific support for protecting places in the sea
    Advocating for effective protection

    » Click to learn more
  • New Zealand Ocean Acidification Workshop

    Working with New Zealand’s shellfish industry and the 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

  • Hawaiian Monk Seal Interactions Report

    We presented the first comprehensive report on Human-Monk Seal Interactions that identifies the human interactions that negatively affect the critically endangered Hawaiian monk seal. The report will be used by NOAA and Hawaiian partners to mitigate harmful interactions with fishermen, scuba divers, beachgoers and more. We work constructively with fisherman and other stakeholders to meet the seal's conservation needs, while also educating the public on how to co-exist with the growing number of seals in the main Hawaiian Islands.

    Scientific support for protecting places in the sea
    Advocating for effective protection

    » Click to learn more
  • Expanding Pacific Remote Islands Monument

    In June, President Obama proposed creating the world’s largest marine reserve across a vast area of the US tropical Pacific territories. Our scientists, in collaboration with other marine biologists, outlined the case for protecting this near-pristine region, and we continue to ensure that this area achieves conservation goals through effective management and enforcement.

    Scientific support for protecting places in the sea
    Advocating for effective protection

    » Click to learn more
  • SeaStates 2014

    Last year, we released SeaStates 2013 the first annual ranking of how well US states protect their coastal waters. At that time, only 3 states and territories – Hawaii, California and the US Virgin Islands – strongly protected more than 5% of their marine waters in no-take reserves, 9 states protected roughly 1% or less, and 15 states did not yet strongly protect any of their marine waters. This July we released SeaStates 2014, highlighting states, such as Oregon, that have implemented new marine reserves!

    Scientific support for protecting places in the sea

    » Click to learn more
  • Protecting Deep Sea Corals

    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
  • Deep Sea Coral Cruise in New Zealand and Coral Habitat Modeling

    Our scientists spent five weeks exploring seafloor habitats found on the Louisville Ridge seamounts east of New Zealand, 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. We are also currently working on predictive habitat modeling projects in the Gulf of Mexico and Alaska.

    Scientific support for protecting places in the sea

    » Click to learn more
  • MPAtlas.org Campaign Tracker

    We added a significant new feature to MPAtlas that enables people to track the establishment of global marine protected area campaigns and initiatives. The new feature, called MPA Campaign Tracker, will also help ocean conservation groups coordinate their efforts and share their stories with the world.

    Scientific support for protecting places in the sea

    » Click to learn more
  • Sustainable Seafood

    Now in the 5th year of our partnership with Holland America Line and Seabourn, we work to ensure that only sustainably caught seafood is served onboard to guests. We will also be expanding our efforts to educate guests about the need to protect marine areas.

    Partnering with business to advance ocean conservation

    » Click to learn more

2013

2013 Annual Report

  • 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
  • MPAtlas.org

    MPAtlas.org 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

2012

Dr. Lance Morgan becomes the President of Marine Conservation Institute.

2011

Marine Conservation Biology Institute (MCBI) changed its name to Marine Conservation Institute to more accurately reflect our interdisciplinary approach to marine conservation.

MCBI organized and recruited speakers for 8 symposium sessions for the 2011 International Marine Conservation Congress in Victoria, British Columbia.

2010

MCBI, working with NOAA's Marine Protected Areas Center, created the California Ocean Uses Atlas, the first map of the full range of significant human uses of the ocean in state and federal waters off the coast of California.

MCBI provided scientific and policy analyses supporting the issuance of President Barak Obama’s Executive Order 13547, Stewardship of the Ocean, Our Coasts, and the Great Lakes, which led to the creation of a National Ocean Policy that establishes ecosystem-based coastal and marine spatial planning for all US waters. 

MCBI published “Ecosystem-based spatial planning and management of marine fisheries: why and how?” in the Bulletin of Marine Science.  We published “Impacts, perception and policy implications of the BP/Deepwater Horizon Oil and Gas Disaster” in a special issue of Environmental Law Reporter News & Analysis.

At the request of the United Nations, MCBI prepared the scientific rationale to designate Papahānaumokuākea Marine National Monument as a World Heritage Site in June 2010.

We funded awards to five scientist-researchers to document ocean life before humans altered marine ecosystems, providing a poignant picture of what healthy oceans used to look like. 

MCBI led a workshop to understand and address ocean acidification impacts on Puget Sound and the Salish Sea.

2009

MCBI helped organize a workshop as part of the Global Ocean Biodiversity Initiative to work toward identifying an initial set of areas on the high seas that could meet the Convention on Biological Diversity’s (CBD) ecologically and biologically significant areas (EBSA) criteria.

MCBI hosted a workshop in Hawaii to determine the scientific needs for effective management of Pacific Remote Islands Marine National Monuments.

MCBI awarded six Mia J. Tegner Memorial Research Grants in Marine Environmental History and Historical Marine Ecology to young and early-career scientists.

MCBI hosted a workshop to determine effective means to address surveillance and enforcement of high seas marine protected areas.

MCBI held a scientist's advocacy day, where we taught scientists how to advocate to protect marine ecosystems on Capitol Hill, during Capitol Hill Ocean's Week.

Sandra Brooke, Coral Conservation Director at MCBI, worked with the South Atlantic Fishery Management Council to create the Oculina Bank Habitat Area of Particular Concern (HAPC) and Experimental Closed Area, protecting deep-water Oculina coral off the central East Coast of Florida.

MCBI releases new issue of Current: Ocean Acidification - From Ecological Impacts to Policy Opportunities. This issue highlights ocean acidification, the ongoing global scale changes in seawater chemistry caused largely by human combustion of fossil fuels.

MCBI, in partnership with Environmental Defense Fund, prepared scientific and policy analyses necessary to identify, nominate and advocate full protection for eight of the nine Pacific Islands sites designated by President Bush as marine national monuments in January 2009.  MCBI rallied scientific support for the President’s action by securing almost 200 signatures on a letter to the President.

2008

MCBI releases How We Fish Matters: Addressing the Ecological Impacts of Canadian Fishing Gear which we worked on with our Canadian partners the Ecology Action Centre and Living Oceans Society.

MCBI formed and helped lead a conservation coalition to develop ideas for, and promote introduction of, H.R. 6537, the Sanctuaries Enhancement Act, and bill to reform the National Marine Sanctuary Program.  MCBI President, Elliott Norse, testified on the bill before the House Natural Resources Committee.

MCBI successfully advocated for increased federal and state funding  for the endangered Hawaiian monk seal, and launched a long-term campaign to improve the seal’s prospects for recovery.

MCBI played a key role in the development of Papahānaumokuākea Marine National Monument Management Plan, providing detailed comments on the draft.

MCBI hosts 3 symposium at the Annual Meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) on bottom trawling, carbon sequestration, and sharks.

2007

MCBI opens Hawaii Program Office to build on advocacy efforts for Marine Protected Areas and to spearhead protection of the Hawaiian monk seal

Partnering with the Deep Sea Conservation Coalition, MCBI limits trawling in the South Pacific

MCBI hosts symposia on ocean acidification and on the sustainability of deep-sea fishing at the Annual Meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS)
      coral report cover
      Status of Deep Sea Corals, 2006

2006


Elliott Norse wins the Nancy Foster Award for Habitat Conservation

MCBI, in cooperation with SkyTruth, National Geographic Society and NOAA, publishes “From Sea to Shining Sea” the first map showing the full extent of the USA

MCBI plays a key role in the establishment of the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands Marine National Monument

MCBI publishes the first assessment of the status of deep-sea corals of the US

2005


MCBI releases Marine Priority Conservation Areas: Baja California to the Bering Sea, the first continental-scale vision of the ocean places most important to protect in North America

MCBI publishes the review of the history of the National Marine Sanctuaries Act

MCBI produces Marine Conservation Biology: The Science of Maintaining the Sea’s Biodiversity, the first textbook in this new science

2004


MCBI co-founds the Deep Sea Conservation Coalition to stop trawling on the world’s seamounts

MCBI releases the Scientists’ Statement on Protecting the World’s Deep-Sea Coral and Sponge Ecosystems, signed by 1452 scientists from 69 countries
shifting gears cover
Shifting Gears, 2003

2003


MCBI publishes a compilation of the Occurrences of Deep-Sea Corals in the Northeast Pacific

MCBI releases Shifting Gears, the first scientific study comparing the damage from 10 major commercial fishing methods

2002


MCBI produces B2B 1.0 — a CD-ROM of physical, biological, and social data relevant to conservation planning within the Baja California to Bering Sea ecoregion.

2001


MCBI holds the Second Symposium on Marine Conservation Biology in San Francisco

MCBI secures listing of the white abalone, the first marine invertebrate ever listed as an endangered species

2000


MCBI spurs President Clinton to issue Executive Order 13158 on Marine Protected Areas

1999


MCBI organizes a scientist workshop to identify priority areas for conservation in the Gulf of Maine

MCBI plays a key role in phasing out commercial fishing in Glacier Bay National Park, Alaska
      journal cover
      Conservation Biology issue on bottom trawling, 1998

1998


The journal Conservation Biology publishes 7 scientific papers from MCBI's 1996 bottom trawling workshop

MCBI releases Troubled Waters: A Call for Action [PDF], signed by 1605 scientists from 70 countries

1997


MCBI organizes the First Sympoisum on Marine Conservation Biology in Victoria BC, Canada

1996


MCBI hosts the first scientific workshop on the Effects of Bottom Trawling on Marine Ecosystems
 

Marine ecologist Dr. Elliott Norse founds MCBI