Ocean Program

Our oceans act as a crucial life-support system for the planet and its inhabitants — soaking up carbon dioxide from the atmosphere, providing a wealth of natural resources, nurturing incredible and mysterious sea creatures, and serving as a playground and place of cultural heritage. Covering 71 percent of Earth’s surface and providing 99 percent of its living space, the ocean often seems invincible. Yet human activity threatens to diminish the myriad services that the ocean provides.

To address threats to the marine environment, the Ocean Program focuses on strengthening ocean and coastal law and policy domestically and internationally. We support ocean management systems that are based on local priorities, inclusive and effective processes, and best available information.

Photo Credit: Ocean Council Member and Former Ocean Program Director Kathryn Mengerink, taken on a Barbuda beach


Our focus areas and projects include:

Planning Supporting improved ocean management through Integrated marine planning systems

Fish Analyzing legal management framework options for Sustainable fisheries and aquaculture

Gulf Facilitating public engagement in Gulf of Mexico restoration and recovery

Seminars Enhancing management of Marine Protected Areas

Seminars Hosting an Ocean Seminar Series on key ocean issues in ocean and coastal governance