Policy Reform for Oceans


The largest, least-protected places on our planet are found in the high seas – the open ocean and deep seabed that lie seaward of individual nations’ jurisdictions. They cover about 45% of the Earth’s surface and 64% of the oceans. Belonging to no single nation, they have been neglected by all.

Grant Recipient:  Oceana
Project Support:  Ocean Policy Change in North America, Europe, and South America
Term:  2009/2010

The Waitt Foundation is helping fund an Oceana campaign to create specific policy changes in North America, Europe, Belize and Chile to address the main factors threatening ocean collapse.

Reasons for Ocean Collapse

1)  Destruction of seafloor habitat by destructive bottom trawling;

2)  Failure to set and enforce sustainable commercial fishing quotas;

3)  Overfishing caused by excessive subsidies to fishing fleets; and,

4)  Pollution, including greenhouse emissions linked to climate change and ocean acidification, and mercury pollution, which contaminates the food chain.


In 2007, Oceana surveyed parts of the Cabrera National Park in the Mediterranean. The crew found evidence that the area’s rich marine life was endangered by the impact of commercial trawlers. As a result of Oceana’s findings, the Balearic Government pledged to expand the protection of the park ~ Photo: Jellyfish, Cabrera National Park, Balearic Islands, Spain. © OCEANA / Juan Cuetos

While the problems Oceana seeks to resolve are enormous, they are made manageable by the organization’s policy of dividing the work into campaigns with specific, achievable goals. Working with traditional and non-traditional allies, Oceana’s goal is to create lasting, significant policy change to preserve the world’s oceans for the benefit of future generations.

Citizen Wavemakers

Support Oceana’s grassroots lobbying efforts by becoming a Wavemaker.

About Oceana

Oceana is the largest international organization focused on protecting and restoring the world’s oceans. Founded in 2001, their scientists work closely with teams of economists, lawyers and advocates to identify and implement a limited number of strategic campaigns where they can have a measurable impact within three to five years. Focused on reducing pollution and preventing the irreversible collapse of fish populations, marine mammals and other sea life, Oceana’s ongoing mission is to provide new hope for the oceans by achieving concrete policy victories for marine life and habitats around the world.

Sea Urchin

In 2008, Oceana began working with local communities of Tortel Cove to create a MPA in Southern Patagonia. Successful establishment would ensure long-term protection of the region’s rich biodiversity ~ Photo: Sea urchin, Tortel fjords, Patagonia. © OCEANA | Eduardo Sorensen

Resources / Media 


Oceana Web site
Oceana Web site (Preserve Special Places)

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