So I spent some time this morning browsing through the UN Atlas of the Oceans — a solid hour of browsing — and I can’t figure out what the UN is really doing to protect the oceans and marine life. The Atlas is a HUGE resource – but there were a lot of blank pages when I clicked on some topics “sustainable fisheries” for example. And the primary focus appears to be the tsunami.

The UN has a “Global Programme of Action for the Protection of the Marine Environment from Land-based Activities” (what a mouthful!) — but it doesn’t seem to have accomplished a lot.

The most successful program appears to be the “Regional Seas Programme” – this seems to be the most sensible and manageable approach to global ocean management. The program is described as: “UNEP Regional Seas Programme has emerged over the last quarter century as an inspiring example of how to craft a regional approach to protecting the environment and managing natural resources. The Regional Seas Conventions and Action Plans cover issues ranging from chemical wastes and coastal development to the conservation of marine animals and ecosystems.”

I’m curious, and obviously undereducated, about global efforts to ensure sustainable oceans and marine life. I plan to begin an education on this topic by delving deeper into the work of the UN and other international bodies to find out what’s really going on… input from those of you with a better understanding of this topic is welcome!