Protect Our Oceans

Strengthening safeguards for our ocean sanctuaries

We're joining an effort to make sure our ocean stays wonderful

Oceans

Sea turtle and snorkler
Matt McIntosh/NOAA | Public Domain
A snorkeler and a sea turtle swim throught the waters of Hawaiian Islands Humpback Whale National Marine Sanctuary

Coral gardens. Kelp forests. Sponge-encrusted shipwrecks.

America’s oceans are full of wonders, and for the last 50 years, the National Marine Sanctuary program has been charged with protecting some of our coolest marine places. From the Florida Keys to the jagged coast of Washington, our marine sanctuaries have educated the public, conducted research and manage these national treasures.

But today, all is not well with our marine sanctuaries. Decades on, many are facing declines in the health of their habitats and ocean life. A recent analysis of available scientific condition report cards for 14 national marine sanctuaries found that 37 percent of the sanctuaries’ wildlife, habitat, and water quality conditions are experiencing “either measurable, widespread, persistent, and/or severe impacts” and that 41 percent of sanctuary condition report trends are “declining.”

We need to halt these declines so that our whales, sea turtles, sharks and fish can thrive, and so generations more Americans can visit and be inspired by these incredible places.

That’s why we’ve been building support for greater protections for the Florida Keys and highlighting the need for stronger action on Stellwagen Bank. Now, Environment America has joined nine other conservation and faith-based organizations in petitioning the federal government to strengthen protections for America’s iconic underwater parks.

We’re asking the Biden administration to take concrete steps to ensure we understand what threats face our sanctuaries and to make sure scientific findings are reported clearly so the public can engage. Finally, we want to ensure that when scientists find declining habitats or populations of ocean life, sanctuary managers make a plan to address the root causes of the decline.

With these steps, and the continued support of ocean-lovers from across the country, we can ensure that these ocean places stay wonderful.

Learn more about Stellwagen Bank's ocean life

Learn more about the ocean life we find at Stellwagen Bank–and the threats facing them–in our 2020 webinar.

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boreal forest
Tim Rains / NPS | Public Domain

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