Marine Conservation Organizations
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.
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….
Bimini Biological Field Station, aka ‘Shark Lab’ is a world-renowned facility located in Bimini, Bahamas. The Shark Lab was established in 1990 by Prof. Samuel H. Gruber and is recognized as a US non-profit and Bahamian Charitable Organization. The station conducts dynamic and innovative field research on sharks and their relatives in the pristine waters of Bimini, Bahamas. The station offers multiple opportunities for individuals to get involved such as, volunteering, Research Experience Programs, and more.
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.
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).”
Defenders of Wildlife: employs education, litigation, research, legislation and advocacy to defend wildlife and its habitat. In each program area, an interdisciplinary team of scientists, attorneys, wildlife specialists and educators works to promote multi-faceted solutions to wildlife problems.
Earthwatch Institute: an international non-profit that supports scientific field research by offering volunteers the opportunity to join research teams around the world. This unique model is creating a systematic change in how the public views science and its role in environmental sustainability.
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.
European Network on Invasive Alien Species (NOBANIS): a network of common databases on alien and invasive species of the region. By establishing a common portal access to IAS-related data, information and knowledge in the region is facilitated.
Fauna and Flora International (FFI): aims to change the policy and behavior that contribute to biodiversity loss by engaging a wide range of governments and non-governmental organizations, and by raising the profile of biodiversity within the wider global development debate.
Global Coral Reef Alliance (GCRA): a coalition of volunteer scientists, divers, environmentalists and other individuals and organizations, committed to coral reef preservation. Focuses on coral reef restoration, marine diseases and other issues caused by global climate change, environmental stress, and pollution.
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.
Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC): The IPCC has been established by World Meteorological Organization (WMO) and United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) to assess scientific, technical and socio-economic information relevant for the understanding of climate change, its potential impacts and options for adaptation and mitigation.
International Coral Reef Initiative (ICRI) is an informal partnership between Nations and organizations which strives to preserve coral reefs and related ecosystems around the world. Although the Initiative is an informal group whose decisions are not binding on its members, its actions have been pivotal in continuing to highlight globally the importance of coral reefs and related ecosystems to environmental sustainability, food security and social and cultural wellbeing. The work of ICRI is regularly acknowledged in United Nations documents, highlighting the Initiative’s important cooperation, collaboration and advocacy role within the international arena.
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.
International Maritime Organization (IMO) – IMO’s Intervention Convention affirms the right of a coastal State to take measures on the high seas to prevent, mitigate or eliminate danger to its coastline from a maritime casualty. The International Convention on Oil Pollution Preparedness, Response and Co-operation (OPRC), 1990 provides a global framework for international co-operation in combating major incidents or threats of marine pollution. A protocol to this convention (HNS Protocol) covers marine pollution by hazardous and noxious substances.
IUCN Global Marine Programme provides vital linkages for the Union and its members to all the IUCN activities that deal with marine issues, including projects and initiatives of the Regional offices and the 6 IUCN Commissions. Its co-ordination role is above and beyond the policy development and thematic guidance that it undertakes to provide to assist governments, communities and NGOs alike.
IUCN Invasive Species Specialist Group: a global group of 146 scientific and policy experts on invasive species from 41 countries. ISSG provides advice on threats from invasives and control or eradication methods to IUCN members, conservation practitioners, and policy-makers. The group’s activities focus primarily on invasive species that cause biodiversity loss, with particular attention to those that threaten oceanic islands.
Lighthouse Foundation: established in Germany to promote integrated sustainable development processes and responsible behavior to protect the marine environment.
Marine Fish Conservation Network: a coalition of commercial and recreational fishing associations, regional and national conservation groups, aquaria, and marine science organizations committed to sustaining fish populations, healthy marine ecosystems, and fishing communities. Our goal is to maintain and strengthen the conservation and management objectives of the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act.
Nature Conservancy: Climate change isn’t a distant threat it is happening now. The past three years were hotter than any other time in recorded history. The Nature Conservancy is focused on innovative solutions that match the urgency of this crisis. We are protecting & restoring forests, improving working lands, helping communities build resilience & working to ensure a clean energy future. Together with supporters like you, we can halt the catastrophic march of climate change so that our communities can thrive & natural places that renew our spirits can endure.
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.
OceanCare: committed to marine wildlife protection since 1989. Through research and conservation projects, campaigns, environmental education, and involvement in a range of important international committees, OceanCare undertakes concrete steps to improve the situation for wildlife in the world’s oceans. In 2011, OceanCare was granted Special Consultative Status on marine issues with the Economic and Social Council of the United Nations.
Project Aware Foundation: PADI’s foundation established to help conserve underwater environments through a wide variety of activities including education, advocacy, and action.
Project Seahorse: an international and interdisciplinary marine conservation organization comprised of biologists, development specialists, and other professionals committed to conserving and managing seahorses, their relatives and habitats, through research, education, empowering communities, establishing marine-protected areas, managing subsistence fisheries, restructuring international trade, redressing habitat loss.
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.
Reef Check: a volunteer, community-based monitoring mechanism operating in more than 60 countries designed to measure and maintain the health of coral reefs.
Reef Relief: dedicated to preserve and protect living coral reef ecosystems through local, regional, and global efforts focusing on science to educate the public and advocate policymakers to achieve conservation, protection, and restoration of coral reefs.
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.
The Safina Center: Led by ecologist and author Carl Safina, the Safina Center is comprised of Staff, Fellows and Creative Affiliates who together create a body of scientific and creative works that advance the conservation of wildlife and the environment, and give a voice to nature.
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.
Shark Stewards: mission is to restore ocean health by saving sharks from overfishing and the shark fin trade, and protecting critical marine habitat through the establishment of marine protected areas and shark sanctuaries. Founded in 2006, Shark Stewards is a leader in advocating and legislation to regulate overfishing sharks, the shark fin trade and creating marine protected areas.
Turtle Island Restoration Network: fights to protect endangered sea turtles in ways that make cultural and economic sense to the communities that share the beaches and waters with these gentle creatures. With offices in California and Costa Rica, STRP has been leading the international fight to protect sea turtle populations worldwide.
Seal Conservation Society: a non-profit organization protecting and conserving pinnipeds (seals, sea lions, and walrus) worldwide by monitoring and minimizing threats to pinnipeds, providing comprehensive information on pinniped-related issues to individuals, groups and the media, and by working with other conservation groups, rescue and rehabilitation centers, research establishments, and governments.
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: the most enduring and influential grassroots environmental organization in the United States. We amplify the power of our 3.5+ million members and supporters to defend everyone’s right to a healthy world.
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.
The Species Survival Commission (SSC): “the world’s greatest source of information about species and their conservation needs”. The SSC is a network of some 8,000 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 chapters located along the East, West, Gulf, Puerto Rican, and Hawaiian coasts, and with its members in the USA and International Surfrider Foundation chapters and affiliates in Japan, Brazil, Australia, France and Spain.
TRAFFIC: wildlife trade monitoring network that works to ensure that trade in wild plants and animals is not a threat to the conservation of nature. TRAFFIC is a joint programme of WWF and IUCN – The World Conservation Union.
United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) – an international treaty to begin to consider what can be done to reduce global warming and to cope with whatever temperature increases are inevitable. Recently, a number of nations have approved an addition to the treaty: the Kyoto Protocol, which has more powerful (and legally binding) measures. The UNFCCC secretariat supports all institutions involved in the climate change process.
Wetlands International: global nonprofit dedicated to the conservation and wise use of wetlands to benefit biodiversity and human well-being.
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.
WildAid: The illegal wildlife trade is a multi-billion dollar global industry largely driven by consumer demand in expanding economies. While most wildlife conservation groups focus on scientific studies and anti-poaching efforts, WildAid works to reduce global consumption of wildlife products and to increase local support for conservation efforts. We also work with governments and partners to protect fragile marine reserves from illegal fishing and shark finning, to enhance public and political will for anti-poaching efforts, and to reduce climate change impacts.
World Resources Institute: environmental think tank working to move human society to live in ways that protect Earth’s environment and its capacity to provide for the needs and aspirations of current and future generations. WRI provides objective information and practical proposals for policy and institutional change that will foster environmentally sound, socially equitable development for.
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.
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.
Great Barrier Reef Research Foundation: raises and manages funds for scientific efforts on the Great Barrier Reef carried out by Australian research institutions to: encourage understanding of human and natural causes of changes to the reef, conservation and restoration, promote human welfare for reef dependent populations, build partnerships for education.
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.
Bite-Back Shark and Marine Conservation: formed in 2002, Bite-Back continues to be the UK’s only organisation dedicated to the protection of sharks by reducing consumer demand for its meat and fins. With the law of supply and demand at its cornerstone, Bite-Back works together with restaurants, fishmongers and retailers to remove shark products from menus and fish counters, effectively lowering the trade in this threatened species.
Marine Connection: a London-based charity committed to the care and protection of dolphins and whales through continuous education and campaigning.
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.
Shark Trust: a UK-based marine conservation charity dedicated to promoting the study, management, and conservation of sharks, skates and rays (elasmobranchs) in the UK and internationally. The Shark Trust is led by a Board of Trustees, who oversee a small but dedicated Conservation and administration team, a voluntary Scientific Committee and a growing number of committed supporters.
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.
American Cetacean Society (ACS): ACS works to protect whales, dolphins, porpoises, and their habitats through education, conservation and research.
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.”
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.
Center for Marine Biodiversity and Conservation (CMBC) works to assess the state of marine ecosystems now and in the past and develop predictive models for the future; train new marine biodiversity and conservation scientists; develop novel interdisciplinary approaches linking the biological, physical, social and informatic sciences; increase public understanding of scientific issues and provide sound scientific analyses to policy makers; design technically sophisticated, regionally appropriate strategies to prevent and reverse biodiversity collapse.
Climate Science & Policy Watch is a nonprofit public interest education and advocacy project dedicated to holding public officials accountable for the integrity and effectiveness with which they use climate science and related research in government policymaking, toward the goal of enabling society to respond effectively to the challenges posed by global warming and climate change.
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.
Coral Reef Alliance: works with the diving community and others to protect and manage coral reefs around the world, establish marine parks, raise awareness, and assist conservation efforts.
Friends of the Sea Otter (FSO): advocacy group working with state and federal agencies to maintain protection for sea otters and to increase and broaden preservation efforts. FSO also serves to educate the public at large about the otters’ unique behavior and habitat.
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.
Marine Mammal Center: works toward survival and conservation of marine mammals and their habitat through rescue services, research, education and communication.
National Invasive Species Information Center (NISIC) was established in 2005 to serve as a reference gateway to information, organizations, and services about invasive species.
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 Alliance: to increase public awareness of the importance of whale and ocean health through research and public education. We work with our scientific partners to collect a broad spectrum of data on whales and ocean life. Ocean Alliance uses this data to advise educators, policy makers, and the general public on wise stewardship of the oceans to mitigate pollution, prevent the collapse of marine mammal populations, and promote ocean and human health.
Ocean and Climate Change Institute : Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution – “We are an Institute without walls or permanent scientific staff. We are using our energies and resources to advance the knowledge of “How the Ocean works in the Earth’s Changing Climate System” by acting across WHOI departmental structures, blending education, research, access to the sea, and outreach to achieve our goals.”
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.
Pacific Marine Mammal Center (PMMC): a non-profit organization staffed by volunteers whose mission is to rescue, treat, and rehabilitate marine mammals stranded on Orange County, California beaches then release healthy animals back to their natural habitat; and to increase public awareness of the marine environment through education and research.
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.
Save the Manatee Club: to promote public awareness and education, fund manatee research, rescue and rehabilitate injured manatees, and lobby for the protection of manatees and their habitat.
Sea Turtle Conservancy: formerly known as the Caribbean Conservation Corporation, is the world’s oldest sea turtle research and conservation group. An international nonprofit 501(c) 3 organization, Sea Turtle Conservancy was founded in 1959 by world-renowned sea turtle expert Dr. Archie Carr to save sea turtles from eminent extinction through rigorous science-based conservation. Headquartered in Florida, the organization carries out worldwide programs to conserve and recover sea turtle populations through research, education, advocacy and protection of the natural habitats upon which depend upon. Over the course of nearly 60 years, Sea Turtle Conservancy’s research programs have yielded much of what is now known about sea turtles and the threats they face, and the organization is applying this knowledge to carry out the world’s most successful sea turtle protection and recovery programs.
Seaturtle.org: dedicated to providing online resources and solutions in support of sea turtle conservation and research. Satellite Tracking Project provides real-time public access to the project with live maps of the turtles’ tracks provided online. Members of the public are invited to follow the movements of these turtles on a daily basis: “We have over 100,000 visits to our satellite tracking pages at http://www.seaturtle.org/tracking each month with the public marveling at the migratory endeavors of these amazing creatures.” Dr. Michael Coyne, Director of seaturtle.org and research scientist at Duke University.
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).
Shark Research Institute (SRI): a US-based multi-disciplinary non-profit scientific research organization that sponsors and conducts research on sharks and promotes shark conservation. Whaleshark research is a large part of SRI and the public is invited to participate in SRI expeditions. SRI also maintains a database of shark attacks, and provides consultants to areas where attacks are clustered to determine the causes and to recommend environmentally sound solutions.
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