Marine and Polar

The ocean covers 70% of the Earth’s surface and supports an extraordinarily diverse world. Only a fraction of it has been discovered so far and much of ocean life remains a mystery which IUCN experts are striving to unveil.  

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Oceans need our care

 

Coral

375 billion

US $ each year estimated for coral's resources and services

Plastics

8 million+

tons of plastic end up in oceans each year

Protected areas

7%

of the ocean is protected


How we engage

IUCN works to ensure that coastal, marine and polar ecosystems are restored and maintained, and that any use of their resources is sustainable and equitable. IUCN also makes sure that the conservation of these ecosystems is integrated into national climate change mitigation and adaptation policies.


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  • In the spotlight:

    Ocean Risk Report

    May 2018 saw the release of Ocean Connections, a new report that examines the impacts of rising ocean temperatures and other stressors such as ocean acidification – the decrease in pH of the ocean – and deoxygenation – a reduction in the amount of oxygen dissolved in the ocean – on the marine environment and human life, and their potential consequences for society.  The report was released at the Ocean Risk Summit in Bermuda as part of a collaboration with XL Catlin global (re)insurance company.

  • In the spotlight:

    Ocean Warming Report

    Explaining Ocean Warming: Causes, scale, effects and consequences was released to the world’s media in September 2016 at the IUCN Congress in Hawaii.  This 460-page publication offers a comprehensive and up-to-date look at the effects of ocean warming from the perspective of major ecosystems and species groups.  Drawing on the work of over 80 scientists from 12 countries, it sets out the likely nature and scale of changes to come and also looks at the probable economic consequences ocean warming poses as well as associated risks to human health and well-being.

News

  • words on left -mangrove plant growing on beach on right Photo: D. Wodehouse

    Real potential to restore mangroves: New tool sheds light

    26.10.2018

    Over the past two decades alone, nearly 100,000 hectares, or 6% of the world’s mangrove forests have been lost. This is just a fraction of the global mangrove loss through the past century. Restoration of these important forests is a tangible way forward –...

  • Southern Ocean and Sub-Antarctic Islands Photographer : Ryan Reisinger Photo: Southern Ocean and Sub-Antarctic Islands

    Fourth important marine mammal areas workshop adds 15 candidate IMMAs for the Southern Ocean and Sub-Antarctic Islands

    23.10.2018

    From 15-19 October 2018, the IUCN Marine Mammal Protected Areas Task Force (the “Task Force”) conducted the fourth Important Marine Mammal Area workshop in Brest, France. This workshop follows successful Task Force IMMA regional workshops in the Mediterranean...

  • Western gray whale and salmon set nets near Sakhalin Island Western gray whale and salmon set nets near Sakhalin Island Photo: No attribution

    Western gray whales at great risk from salmon nets – IUCN-backed study

    11.10.2018

    Gland, Switzerland (IUCN) - A new IUCN-backed scientific article published today finds that threatened western gray whales are at “very high risk” of entanglement in coastal salmon nets near Russia’s Sakhalin island, which often leads to their injury or death...

Publications

Learn more

Dog Island, Anguilla Dog Island, Anguilla Photo: James Millet

EU overseas

From the poles to the tropics, the European Union (EU) includes 34 overseas entities: 9 Outermost Regions (ORs) and 25 Overseas Countries and Territories (OCTs). They are linked to 6 European Member States: Denmark, France, the Netherlands, Portugal, Spain and the United Kingdom. Found in...
Sargasso Sea Photo: Don Kincaid

International ocean governance

IUCN's work on ocean governance covers many of the issues relating to the sustainable use and management of coastal, transboundary and international waters from large marine ecosystems to the high seas.

 

Marine plastics on beach Photo: Peter Charaf

Marine Plastics

Every year, over 300 million tons of plastic are produced, half of which is used to design single-use items such as shopping bags, cups and straws. At least 8 million tons of plastic end up in our oceans every year and make up 80% of all marine debris from surface waters to deep-sea...
New Coral Growing on Old Photo: Henry Wolcott

Climate Change and Oceans

Climate change is severely and rapidly impacting species, ecosystems and people around the globe. Climate change and ocean acidification are jeopardizing food security, shoreline protection, the provision of income, livelihood sources and sustainable economic development. IUCN's work...

Quick reads

Aimed at policy-makers and journalists, IUCN Issues Briefs provide key information on selected issues in a two-pager format.

Thumbnail_Deep-sea mining Photo: IUCN

Deep-sea mining

Deep-sea mining is the process of retrieving mineral deposits from the deep sea – the area of the ocean below 200 m which covers about 65% of the Earth’s surface.  There is growing interest...

Thumbnail_Issues_cc_oceans Photo: IUCN

Blue carbon

The coastal ecosystems of mangroves, tidal marshes and seagrass meadows contain large stores of carbon deposited by vegetation and various natural processes over centuries. These ecosystems sequester...

Issues Brief - Oceans and climate change Issues Brief - Oceans and climate change  Photo: IUCN

The ocean and climate change

At the front line of climate change, the ocean, the coastlines and coastal communities are being disproportionately impacted by increasing carbon dioxide (CO2) and other greenhouse gas (GHG)...

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