Defending our oceans

Seen from space the Earth is covered in a blue mantle. It is a planet on which the continents are dwarfed by the oceans surrounding them and the immensity of the marine realm. It could be called Planet Ocean.

A staggering 80 percent of all the life on Earth is to be found hidden beneath the waves and this vast global ocean pulses around our world driving the natural forces which maintain life on our planet.

The oceans provide vital sources of protein, energy, minerals and other products of use the world over and the rolling of the sea across the planet creates over half our oxygen, drives weather systems and natural flows of energy and nutrients around the world, transports water masses many times greater than all the rivers on land combined and keeps the Earth habitable.

Without the global ocean there would be no life on Earth.

It is gravely worrying, then, that we are damaging the oceans on a scale that is unimaginable to most people.

We now know that human activity can have serious impacts on the vital forces governing our planet.  We have fundamentally changed our global climate and are just beginning to understand the consequences of that.

As yet largely unseen, but just as serious, are the impacts we are having on the oceans.

A healthy ocean has diverse ecosystems and robust habitats.  The actual state of our oceans is a far cry from this natural norm.

A myriad of human pressures are being exerted both directly and indirectly on ocean ecosystems the world over. Consequently ecosystems are collapsing as marine species are driven towards extinction and ocean habitats are destroyed.  Degraded and stripped of their diversity, ocean ecosystems are losing their inherent resilience.

We need to defend our oceans because without them, life on Earth cannot exist.

Dead oceans, dead planet

We need to defend them now more than ever, because the oceans need all the resilience they can muster in the face of climate change and the potentially disasterous impacts this is already beginning to produce in the marine world.

The Greenpeace Defending our Oceans campaign sets out to protect and preserve our oceans now and for the future by setting aside swathes of the global oceans from exploitation and controllable human pressure, allowing these areas the respite they so desperately need for recovery and renewal.

Building on a protection and recovery system established to manage land based over-exploitation, Marine Reserves are the ocean equivalent of national parks.

Marine Reserves are a scientifically developed and endorsed approach to redressing the crisis in our oceans which work alongside a range of other measures designed to ensure that the demands we make of our oceans are managed sustainably.

Beyond Marine Reserves we need to tackle a great many threats to the oceans' viability and find better ways of managing their resources.  To this end, while Greenpeace campaigns for Marine Reserves, we also campaign against the acts which have brought the oceans to this point - we expose the countless pressures, reveal the threats, confront the villains and point to the solutions and measures necessary to create sustainable oceans.

The latest updates


Busted: Big ocean, bad boat

Blog entry by Sophie Schroder | September 10, 2015

We knew that the Taiwanese longline vessel could be fishing illegally almost as soon as its details popped up on the Rainbow Warrior's radar system. We were in the high seas of the Pacific, at least two days away, but when our...

How I came to believe we need to Change Tuna

Blog entry by Lauren Reid | September 9, 2015

The moment we heard we were boarding our first fishing boat, I was so overwhelmed with excitement and nervousness that I nearly jumped straight off the Rainbow Warrior and into the sea – almost missing the inflatable altogether. I...

The mind boggling size of the Pacific

Blog entry by Andrew Davies | September 7, 2015

The Pacific ocean covers approximately one-third of the Earth's surface. You could fit all the land in the world into the space it occupies – with room left over for an extra Canada. Put another way, it’s bigger than the surface of...

A bad kind of FAD: The fish magnet that’s not so sexy

Blog entry by Sophie Schroder | September 4, 2015

To the untrained eye it looks like a rogue barrel, fallen overboard from a distant ship, bobbing along in the calm Pacific Ocean. Time and again we see odd objects floating past out here, things like mini cocktail umbrellas or...

Like longline ships passing in the night

Blog entry by Sophie Schroder | August 29, 2015

The Korean longliner looked impressive from a distance. In the great expanse of the Pacific Ocean where you can go weeks without seeing anything but sea, the lights of the fishing vessel at night on the horizon were almost majestic. ...

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