Oceans & Reefs
Enhance conservation of coastal environments to ensure marine ecosystems continue to thrive
Over 70% of the earth’s surface is covered in ocean water. The ocean’s massive coral reefs, coastal wetlands, and expansive open waters serve as nourishing habitats for an extraordinary variety of marine life. In addition to supporting marine biodiversity, healthy coral reefs also serve as a natural buffer for coastal areas, helping to prevent erosion, storm damage, and floods. Our own lives and well-being depend on thriving oceans and reefs. Oceans represent a valuable food and water source for people around the world, with seafood being the primary source of protein for over 3 billion people around the world. Coastal ecosystems support sustainable livelihoods which are particularly important for alleviating poverty in developing countries.
Our oceans and the marine ecosystems they support are at risk from a number of growing threats. The majority of tourism activity globally is concentrated in coastal zones. If significant action is not taken, the effects of climate change, irresponsible coastal development, and careless tourism will devastate coral reefs and ocean life.
Issues We're Addressing
Coral Reef Destruction
Loss of Marine Biodiversity
Coral Reef DestructionThe effects of climate change, including rising water temperatures and ocean acidification, are resulting in unprecedented levels of coral bleaching. Careless tourism activity from boat anchors, divers and snorkelers, and haphazard coastal development also contributes to reef degradation. Other threats to reefs include sedimentation from erosion which prevents coral from getting necessary sunlight and land-based pollution and run-off.
Loss of Marine BiodiversityNearly 200,000 known species populate the waters beneath the ocean’s surface; however scientists predict actual numbers may lie in the millions. Marine biodiversity plays a crucial role in human well-being. Over three billion people rely on marine and coastal biodiversity for their livelihoods. But marine species across the globe are at risk from threats including the loss of their coral reef habitats, overharvesting of marine resources, contaminated of water from pollution and debris, and introduction of invasive species.
OverfishingIn many destinations, marine wildlife populations are diminishing due to overfishing. When this occurs, species run the risk of going extinct and the balance of the entire food chain can be thrown off. Without an adequate fish supply, the food security and livelihoods of countless people are in jeopardy. Illegal and irresponsible fishing practices as well as a lack of marine protected areas and regulation are some of the underlying factors that contribute to overfishing.
What We're Doing
A regional alliance combatting sustainability challenges in the Caribbean and Central America