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Marine Conservation Organizations

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Planet Ocean

MarineBio is deeply committed to marine conservation and founded on the concept that, by sharing the wonders of the ocean and marine life, people will be inspired to protect it. We hope you will consider becoming a MarineBio Conservation Society member to help us bring the ocean and the conservation message to as many people as possible.

There are many other organizations working on marine conservation and other environmental issues such as biodiversity and global warming. We list them here both as a public service and to spread the word. Please Contact us if you have any comments, changes, or suggestions.

For an objective annotated list of the organizations listed below and others, visit Mother Jones magazine's guide to environmental organizations.

By Species

By Issue

The oceans are downstream of everything. And they don't have an endless capacity to absorb waste. In fact, every year people dispose of 161 million gallons of used motor oil improperly—an amount greater than the Exxon Valdez oil spill. Much of this oil ends up in waterways and the oceans, where it takes a tremendous toll on aquatic life. By being careful about oil and other substances, you can help keep ocean waters clean. - Ocean Conservancy

Global Marine Conservation

Antarctic and Southern Ocean Coalition (ASOC): The ASOC's Southern Ocean Fisheries Campaign works on five continents to stop the Illegal, Unregulated and Unreported (IUU) fishing that is dramatically depleting toothfish stocks—the most important commercial fish in the Southern Ocean. At the same time, the long-liners are killing thousands of endangered albatrosses and other seabirds each year....

Blue Ocean Institute: a non-profit organization dedicated to inspiring ocean conservation through science, art, and literature. The group is particularly interested in providing information that will help people make choices that help restore living abundance in the oceans such as a seafood consumer education initiative "From Sea to Table".

Blue Frontier Campaign: founded in 2003 by David Helvarg, author of Blue Frontier – Saving America's Living Seas and 50 Ways to Save the Ocean. Blue Frontier works to support seaweed (marine grassroots) efforts at the local, regional and national level, with an emphasis on bottom up organizing to bring the voice of citizen-activists into national decision-making that will impact our public seas.

Cetacean Alliance: is a not-for-profit network of non-governmental organizations committed to preserving marine biodiversity and reducing human impact on cetacean populations.

Conservation International: a non-profit organization based in Washington, DC and operating in more than 30 countries worldwide to apply innovations in science, economics, policy and community participation to protect the Earth's plant and animal biodiversity in major tropical wilderness areas and key marine ecosystems.

Deep Sea Conservation Coalition: "The NGOs listed in this document jointly call on the UN General Assembly to adopt a resolution declaring an immediate moratorium on high seas bottom trawling, and to simultaneously initiate a process under the auspices of the UN General Assembly to 1) assess deep sea biodiversity and ecosystems, including populations of fish species, and their vulnerability to deep sea fishing on the high seas; and 2) adopt and implement legally binding regimes to protect deep sea biodiversity from high seas bottom trawling and to conserve and manage bottom fisheries of the high seas consistent with the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS 1982), UN Fish Stocks Agreement (FSA 1995), UN FAO Compliance Agreement (1993), Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD 1992), and the UN FAO Code of Conduct for Responsible Fisheries (Code 1995)."

Environmental Defense: a non-profit organization based in New York bringing together experts in science, law and economics to tackle complex environmental issues that affect our oceans, our air, our natural resources, the livability of our man-made environment, and the species with whom we share our world.

Global Marine Litter Information Gateway: a co-operative effort of the UNEP GPA Coordination Office, the Swedish Environmental Protection Agency, and the UN International Maritime Organization. The objective is to provide a clearing-house, a gateway, for supply and exchange of information on the global, regional and local problem of marine litter.

Greenpeace International: Greenpeace's oceans campaign focusing on three major threats to the world's oceans: overfishing, pirate fishing, whaling, and intensive shrimp aquaculture.

Institute for Ocean Conservation Science: to advance ocean conservation through science. They conduct world-class scientific research that increases knowledge about critical threats to oceans and their inhabitants, provides the foundation for smarter ocean policy, and establishes new frameworks for improved ocean conservation. The Institute's research focuses on advancing ecosystem-based fisheries management, a strategy which recognizes that the oceans' problems are interconnected and that species and habitats cannot be successfully managed in isolation; as well as on advancing knowledge about vulnerable and ecologically important marine animals that are understudied. They are dedicated to developing scientific approaches to sustainably manage forage fish, small schooling fish that are food for marine mammals and seabirds but are being depleted from our oceans.

International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW): engages communities, government leaders, and like-minded organizations around the world to achieve lasting solutions to pressing animal welfare and conservation challenges-solutions that benefit both animals and people.

Lighthouse Foundation: established in Germany to promote integrated sustainable development processes and responsible behavior to protect the marine environment.

National Environmental Trust: a non-profit, non-partisan organization established in 1994 to inform citizens about environmental problems and how they affect our health and quality of life.

Nature Conservancy: Nature Conservancy's Global Marine Initiative links land and sea conservation in an effort to protect the rich array of plant and animal life and safeguard the tremendous benefits the oceans provide. Over 100 marine projects in 21 countries and 22 U.S. states....

Ocean Conservancy: serves to protect ocean ecosystems and conserve the global abundance and diversity of marine wildlife through science-based advocacy, research, and public education.

Oceana: a non-profit international advocacy organization dedicated to restoring and protecting the world's oceans through policy advocacy, science, law, and public education.

Ocean Project: an initiative to raise awareness of the importance, value, and sensitivity of the oceans through a network of aquariums, zoos, and conservation organizations.

Polar Bears International: a nonprofit organization dedicated to the worldwide conservation of the polar bear and its habitat through research, stewardship, and education. We provide scientific resources and information on polar bears and their habitat to institutions and the general public worldwide.

ReefBase: created to facilitate sustainable management of coral reefs and related coastal/marine environments, in order to benefit poor people in developing countries whose livelihoods depend on these natural resources.

Sea Shepherd Conservation Society: an international non-profit, marine wildlife conservation organization whos mission is to end the destruction of habitat and the slaughter of wildlife in the world's oceans in order to conserve and protect ecosystems and species. Sea Shepherd uses innovative direct-action tactics to investigate, document, and take action when necessary to expose and confront illegal activities on the high seas.

SeaWeb: a communications-based nonprofit organization that uses social marketing techniques to advance ocean conservation.

Shifting Baselines: a "media project" — a partnership between ocean conservation and Hollywood to help bring attention to the severity of ocean decline.

Sierra Club: helps implement legislation protecting marine resources through its National Marine Committee, as well as establishing initiatives to protect marine resources through national and regional networks.

Society for Conservation Biology (SCB): an international professional organization dedicated to promoting the scientific study of the phenomena that affect the maintenance, loss, and restoration of biological diversity. The Society's membership comprises a wide range of people interested in the conservation and study of biological diversity: resource managers, educators, government and private conservation workers, and students.

Species Survival Commission (SSC): "the world's greatest source of information about species and their conservation needs". The SSC is a network of some 7,000 volunteer members from almost every country of the world, all working to stop the loss of plants, animals, and their habitats. Members include researchers, government officials, wildlife veterinarians, zoo and botanical institute employees, marine biologists, protected area managers, and experts on plants, birds, mammals, fish, amphibians, reptiles, and invertebrates. SSC produces the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species, provides technical and scientific advice to governments, international environmental treaties, and conservation organizations, publishes species Action Plans, and policy guidelines, and implements on-ground conservation projects.

Surfrider Foundation: a non-profit organization that works to protect our oceans, waves, and beaches through its 60 chapters located along the East, West, Gulf, Puerto Rican, and Hawaiian coasts, and with its 37,000 members in the USA and International Surfrider Foundation chapters and affiliates in Japan, Brazil, Australia, France and Spain.

Whale & Dolphin Conservation Society (WDCS): an international non-profit working toward the conservation and welfare of all cetaceans (whales, dolphins, and porpoises) by reducing threats to cetaceans and their habitats and by raising awareness about the need to address the continuing threats to their welfare and survival.

World Society for the Protection of Animals (WSPA): WSPA works with more than 449 member organisations to raise the standards of animal welfare throughout the world. Our vision is a world in which the welfare of animals is understood and respected by everyone, and protected by effective legislation.

World Wildlife Fund: WWF's Endangered Seas Program works in more than 40 countries to campaign, lobby, develop and advocate solutions, commission and publish impartial data, advise, and champion the conservation of the marine environment and sustainable livelihoods.

Regional Initiatives

Australia
Australian Marine Conservation Society (AMCS): a non-profit organization whose mission is to protect the health and vitality of Australia's coasts and seas. AMCS provides leadership on a wide range of marine issues throughout Australia including marine parks, fisheries, threatened species and land-based pollution.

Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority: established to protect and encourage the wise use and understanding of the Great Barrier Reef through the care and development of the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park.

New Zealand
Royal Forest and Bird Protection Society: New Zealand's largest national conservation organisation. The Society's mission is to preserve and protect the native plants and animals and natural features of New Zealand. Active on a wide range of conservation and environmental issues. These include the protection of native forests, tussock grasslands, wetlands, coastlines and marine ecosystems, energy and resource conservation, sustainable fisheries and sustainable land management. Also involved in South Pacific rainforest conservation work and is working to ensure the protection of Antarctica from environmental damage.

Sub-Antarctic Islands
SubAntarcticIslands.com: an online educational resource for information about the habitats and species of the sub-antarctic islands. The mission of the website is: to stimulate student interest in the study of these fascinating islands, to provide photographs for students' and researchers' papers and to document ecological restoration in progress.

United Kingdom
Marine Conservation Society: the UK-based organization dedicated to protecting the marine environment by bringing issues and threats to marine wildlife and the wider marine environment to attention of the public, media, politicians, and government agencies.

Marine Life Information Network for Britain and Ireland (MarLIN): provides information for marine environmental management, protection and education. A centre of excellence in spatially based and time-series marine biological information and for good stewardship in the marine environment.

The MarLIN programme was established in 1998 by the Marine Biological Association of the United Kingdom in collaboration with the major environmental protection agencies in the UK, together with academic institutions.

United States
Algalita Marine Research Foundation (AMRF): a Long Beach, California based non-profit environmental organization. AMRF is dedicated to the preservation of the marine environment. With the help of its chartered research vessel, The Oceanographic Research Vessel (ORV) Alguita, AMRF is actively engaged in innovative research, education, and restoration of the marine environment.

Aquatic Network: provides information about living resources and technology relating to marine and freshwater environments. Mission: "Promote sustainable use of aquatic resources, serve as a clearinghouse for information relating to aquatic environments, and explore the use of the Internet and other new technologies to foster global communication and networking."

Blue Ocean Society: a New Hampshire-based non-profit that promotes awareness and conservation of the marine environment through research and education such as collecting research data on whale watch boats, community beach cleanups, educational programs, internships, and volunteer opportunities.

Bluewater Network: promotes policy changes in government and industry to reduce dependence on fossil fuels and eradicate other root causes of air and water pollution, global warming, and habitat destruction. Also leads campaigns to protect National Parks from jetskis, snowmobiles and other recreational vehicles, and to prevent environmental damage from pollution caused by ferries, cruise ships, and other large vessels.

Center for Biological Diversity: working to establish crucial protections for Pacific Ocean species and their habitats. The "high seas," or open ocean, have historically been a no-man's-land, claimed by no single country and not governed by any single body of law; and the sea has been treated as an inexhaustible resource, infinitely deep, wide, and bountiful. But the advent of large-scale commercial fishing, shipping and oil drilling has pushed many species to the brink of extinction and beyond, and the oceans' animals and natural systems are now in serious decline.

Coastal Research and Education Society of Long Island (CRESLI): a group of experts in marine mammal science, environmental sciences, education and conservation. CRESLI was formed for the purposes of conducting research, providing educational experiences and promoting conservation of coastal ecosystems.

Marine Conservation Institute: a non-profit scientific and conservation advocacy organization working to protect and restore marine life on the around the United States and beyond by facilitating research in marine conservation biology, bringing scientists together to examine crucial marine conservation issues, conducting policy research to frame the marine conservation agenda, and educational activities.

National Marine Sanctuary Program: the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration's (NOAA) program that identifies, designates, manages, and protects national marine sanctuaries.

Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC): seeks to preserve and restore the extraordinary diversity of ocean life and the quality of coastal waters. "NRDC is the nation's most effective environmental action organization. We use law, science and the support of more than 1 million members and online activists to protect the planet's wildlife and wild places and to ensure a safe and healthy environment for all living things."

National Wildlife Federation (NWF): efforts are focused on five core issues: endangered habitat, water quality, land stewardship, wetlands, and sustainable communities. NWF conducts a range of educational projects; and activist, advocacy, and litigation initiatives on these core issues.

Ocean Conservation Research is focused on understanding the scope of, and exploring solutions to the growing problem of human generated noise pollution and its impact on marine life. We use the products of our research to inform the public and provide guidance to regulators and policymakers so that we may all become better stewards of the sea.

PRBO Conservation Science: Marine Ecology Division: PRBO's Marine Ecology Division uses science to guide ocean ecosystem protection, conservation, and management. Projects focus on four key areas: 1) Ocean predators as bio-indicators of climate change and habitat quality. 2) Population dynamics, reproduction, and survival of seabird, marine mammal and white shark populations. 3) Life history characteristics: diet, feeding ecology, and energetic needs of seabirds in relation to marine fisheries and pollution. 4) Creation of Marine Protected Areas (MPA's) and Marine Reserves (MRV's) to protect ocean ecosystems.

Restore America's Estuaries: a non-profit whose mission is to preserve the nation's network of estuaries by protecting and restoring the lands and waters essential to the richness and diversity of coastal life.

Sea Watch | Dedicated to a Healthy Sea of Cortes: founded in 1993 by a small group of Americans and Mexicans disgusted with the destruction of fisheries in the Sea of Cortes. The following are their major accomplishments to date (click here).

We need another and a wiser and perhaps a more mystical concept of animals. Remote from universal nature, and living by complicated artifice, man in civilization surveys the creature through the glass of his knowledge and sees thereby a feather magnified and the whole image in distortion. We patronize them for their incompleteness, for their tragic fate of having taken form so far below ourselves. And therein we err, and greatly err. For the animal shall not be measured by man. In a world older and more complete than ours they move finished and complete, gifted with extensions of the senses we have lost or never attained, living by voices we shall never hear. They are not brethren, they are not underlings; they are other nations, caught with ourselves in the net of life and time, fellow prisoners of the splendor and travail of the earth. - Henry Beston, 1928

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