SOS Support Ocean Sanctuaries

Bountiful Oceans

Food, work, fun, adventure, sport and life – not many things can give us all those things in one. Every day the oceans give us the air we need to breathe; the weather to grow crops; water to support the smallest to the largest animals on earth and 80% of all species; vast ice flows to help regulate our climate; millions of jobs and a life-time of pleasure.

World Oceans Day in Senegal. 06/08/2013 © Clément Tardif / Greenpeace

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Our Oceans – fit for the future

You and I are alive right now because of the oceans. There is no other place in the universe so full of life as this planet; so green, so rich in diverse, beautiful, weird and wonderful, large and small species, on land and at sea and it is all because Planet Earth is Planet Ocean.

They are home to the largest animal our planet has ever known – the now-endangered blue whale - but there are still huge areas of ocean that humans have never seen. Biologists estimate that there could be anywhere between 500,000 and 5,000,000 marine species down there that have yet to be discovered.

Earth's longest mountain range is not on land but under the sea - the Mid-Oceanic ridge system, which winds around the globe from the Arctic Ocean to the Atlantic. It is four times longer than the Andes, Rockies, and Himalayas combined!

More people have stood on the moon than dived the deepest ocean trench and less than 5% of all the oceans have been explored. There is so much more for us to discover.

Underwater Life in Dry Tortugas. 08/16/2010 © Todd Warshaw / Greenpeace

They are home to some of the longest-lived animals on our planet – including the orange roughy (a fish that can live up to 200 years) and centuries old corals. They are silent witnesses to the huge environmental damage done over their lifetimes, damage which will have a significant impact on all our futures.

But, imagine if all those millions, maybe billions, of people who get food, jobs and pleasure from the ocean worked together to stop the overfishing and other ocean destruction.

'Fish For Life' March in Thailand. 09/28/2012 © Christopher Allbritton / Greenpeace

Imagine what we could do together to be the change we want for the sea.

Teachers Welcome Greenpeace in Apo Island. 07/09/2013 © Steve De Neef / Greenpeace

We can do it. Companies have changed their fish supply policies, destructive fishing practices have been banned, huge whale sanctuaries created – all because the voices demanding change could not be ignored. But now, in part due to the relentless march of technology, our oceans are being altered on a vast scale and at an unprecedented speed, meaning that many more of us need to be heard - and fast.

There is one big solution that is simple and affordable – the creation of ocean sanctuaries. 

If we zone off about 40% of the oceans as protected areas – places that are special to marine life, such as important feeding and breeding grounds or areas where fish populations are already at breaking point - then we can give our oceans the breathing space they need to recover and keep our planet running.

Fish in the Great Barrier Reef. 12/12/2011 © Darren Jew / Greenpeace

It is estimated that governments would have to spend around US$15million a year to make it happen. We will spend fifteen times more on luxury good by 2015, than politicians will set aside for the safeguarding of the world’s most essential asset. Let’s change that.

The oceans support billions of us. If each of us did just one thing, we could change the future. We can make sure that in years to come our children can still enjoy clean sea, teeming with life. Setting up ocean sanctuaries now will give our children and us oceans of plenty in the future. It’s a big job but together we can create oceans fit for the future.

Traditional Dancers from Papua New Guinea. 10/30/2011 © Alex Hofford / Greenpeace

The latest updates

 

2013: The Year In Photos

Feature story | 24 December, 2013 at 13:30

The year 2013 has been very eventful for Greenpeace on all points of the compass. Whether it be turning around a cargo container filled with fin whale meat in Hamburg, getting the palm oil industry to think twice about deforestation in Indonesia,...

Jenni Barrett: For the whales

Blog entry by Jenni Barrett | 22 December, 2013

In 2007 I took a trip to the Arctic Circle to photograph killer whales. The setting in the Norwegian fjords was incredibly beautiful and I found myself profoundly moved after coming eye-to-eye with one of these magnificent creatures.

Enough is enough; we need to reclaim our seas and fisheries now

Blog entry by Duncan Williams | 3 December, 2013

The Western and Central Pacific is the world's largest tuna fishery , with millions of people depending on it for food and their livelihoods. It is also an economic lifeline for many of our region's small island states. But there is...

The "longline" of suffering and destruction

Blog entry by Sari Tolvanen | 20 November, 2013 1 comment

Tuna longline fisheries are one of the most scandalous fishing businesses on the planet, operating mostly out of sight and out of control. Longlining is the fishing method that catches the big valuable tunas aimed at fulfilling the...

Out of line

Publication | 19 November, 2013 at 16:30

Most of the global longline fisheries are operating out of control and out of sight. A huge fleet of over 5000 vessels roams the world’s oceans with almost no control mechanisms in place to ensure that their operations are legal, sustainable...

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