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

  • Acoustic monitoring, Bontosua Island, Indonesia Acoustic monitoring, Bontosua Island, Indonesia. Photo: Alicia McArdle Photo: Alicia McArdle

    Reef Futures Looking Up! Large Scale Coral Reef Restoration is Possible

    30.08.2018

    Needing to change our visual and professional perspective was the common theme behind several promising low-cost technical solutions reviewed at a recent Coral Reef Restoration Workshop. The workshop sponsored by the International Union for Conservation of...

  • Pinna nobilis Pinna nobilis Photo: IUCN/Mar Otero

    Situación de emergencia para las grandes nacras en el Mediterráneo

    17.07.2018

    Un parasito está causando una mortandad masiva de una de las especies más emblemáticas del Mar Mediterráneo, la gran nacra Pinna nobilis. Diversas acciones se están emprendiendo para frenar su expansión en la región.

  • Giant tube worms Photo: NOAA Okeanos Explorer Program, Galapagos Rift Expedition 2011

    Draft mining regulations insufficient to protect the deep sea – IUCN report

    16.07.2018

    Regulations under development at the International Seabed Authority (ISA) to manage deep-sea mining are insufficient to prevent irrevocable damage to marine ecosystems and a loss of unique species – many yet to be discovered, an IUCN report warns.

Publications

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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.

 

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...
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...
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...

Quick reads

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

Thumbnail_Oceans MPA issues brief Photo: IUCN

Marine protected areas and climate change

Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) – areas of the ocean set aside for long-term conservation aims – are the only mainstream conservation-focussed, area-based measure to increase the quality and extent of...

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...

Issues brief: Coral reefs and climate change Photo: IUCN

Coral reefs and climate change

Anthropogenic greenhouse gas emissions have caused an increase in global surface temperature of approximately 1°C since pre-industrial times. This has led to unprecedented mass coral bleaching events...

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