Pledge About

Marine Protection

Only 5% of our oceans are officially protected

Background: 

We need healthy oceans to support our way of life. About 20% of the world’s population derives at least one-fifth of its animal protein intake from fish, and some small island states depend almost exclusively on fish. Unfortunately, fish stocks face increasing pressures and 90% of the world's fisheries are overfished or at capacity, while 60% of world's major marine ecosystems have been degraded. The need to find innovative and pragmatic resource management strategies is more important than ever.

Marine reserves are costly to patrol especially for less wealthy nations; and they often remain protected in name only. Common problems include:

  • A lack of resources or training for enforcement officials;

  • Little or no penalties for infractions due to outdated laws, corruption or nonexistent judicial follow-up; and

  • Inadequate community support for conservation initiatives. 

What is WildAid doing?: 

Marine strategyWildAid is working to change that one marine reserve and one country at a time. We developed a model that is both unique and effective.

Our comprehensive marine strategy improves the enforcement of MPAs and fisheries while decreasing the costs of compliance. We developed management and enforcement plans for 10 different countries throughout the world, including Nicaragua, Belize, and other artisanal fisheries, as well as longer-term projects elaborated in WildAid’s Marine Initiatives section.The hallmark feature of our strategy lies in a holistic, integrated approach consisting of our five-piece MPA enforcement chain. Each piece of the chain works together to form a functional system. 

  • Surveillance & Interdiction: We custom design enforcement systems using high and low-tech alternatives based on identified threats, human resources and budgetary constraints. 

  • Systematic Training: We tailor training programs to local needs and train Park Wardens and communities alike in best practices in patrolling, vessel boarding and safety-at-sea.

  • Prosecution & Sanction: We work with lawyers and governments to ensure that sanctions are carried out effectively and that penalties act as real deterrents, rather than just a cost of doing business. 

  • Education & Outreach: We design local awareness campaigns to foster understanding and community buy-in.

  • Sustainable Finance: We reduce operating costs using new technologies and/or through inter-agency collaboration. We explore sustainable revenue sources to fund enforcement operations.

How can you help?: 

First and foremost, make sure you, your family, and friends follow the rules and regulations for the marine environments you visit, clean up after yourself, and do not disturb marine wildlife.

  • Contact environmental authorities if you spot illegal activities in marine reserves.

  • Stay away from products made from marine species, such as coral, turtle shells, and shark fins.

  • Always opt for environmental and sustainable alternatives and substitutes.

  • Contact your elected officials asking them what steps they are taking to protect our oceans and marine wildlife.

  • Opt for ocean-friendly seafood that comes from sustainable sources. Seafood Watch provides a great app for finding local sustainable seafood.

    WildAid's Marine Initiatives Donate to WildAid's Marine Program