Marine and Polar

The ocean covers 70% of the Earth’s surface and support 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

6.35%

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

Learn more

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...
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...
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...
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.

 

Quick reads

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

Blue carbon

The coastal ecosystems of mangroves, tidal marshes and seagrass meadows contain large stores of carbon deposited by vegetation and various natural processes over centuries. These ecosystems sequester...

Ocean warming

The ocean absorbs vast quantities of heat as a result of increased concentrations of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere, mainly from fossil fuel consumption. The Fifth Assessment Report published by...

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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