Know Your Seafood Infographic The oceans are overfished. Our consumption is not sustainable. Species collapse is happening in oceans around the world. We can create a true shift to sustainable seafood and still eat the things we love — it doesn’t require giving up all seafood. We just have to make the right choices at the grocery store and at restaurants.

Surprising Facts »

  • 90% of the ocean's big fish are gone because of overfishing, and the remaining 10% could be gone in as little as forty years.
  • The world's seafood consumption rate has been growing twice as fast (3.6%/year) as the population (1.8%/year) since 1961.
  • The average size of the remaining top predators is 1/5 to 1/2 what it used to be.
  • About 20 million metric tons of fish caught each year are bycatch — animals that fishermen were not trying to catch — and are simply thrown back into the water, often dead.
  • 20 of the 30 largest cities in the world are coastal.
  • The ocean is the number one source of protein for more than one billion people on our planet.
  • In fact, 75% of all fish stocks are either fully over-exploited or depleted.
  • Destructive fishing practices, like bottom trawling, not only waste fish; they damage valuable coral reefs and seamounts that can take decades or centuries to recover.

Why is this important to me?

Our current consumption rate is causing fish populations to crash. It also hurts the marine ecosystems that provide us many other things, from oxygen to jobs and recreation. Eating more sustainably harvested seafood is critical for fishermen, consumers, fish, and a future that has any seafood at all.

Is this goal realistic?

Yes. There are many sustainable fisheries. We can get consumers — all of us — to understand the issue and change our habits. If we let the economics drive the solution we can have great seafood and ecological balance at the same time.

How will the One World One Ocean Campaign help achieve this goal?

By raising awareness of an issue too many people do not know about, we will inspire people to eat sustainable seafood. We promote tools like the Seafood Watch Guide to help people understand the impact of what they eat, and engage their local restaurants and grocery stores to make change happen.

Download the Sustainable Seafood Guide »


There are tons and tons of plastic in the ocean. It breaks down into smaller pieces, but never goes away. Marine animals eat it and become sick or die. It also entangles and injures them, making it difficult to swim or fly. Unknown numbers of animals die this way each year, and the toxins are beginning to make their way into our food stream.

Surprising Facts »

  • Americans use 102 billion plastic bags every year.
  • It's estimated that 60-80% of all marine debris is plastic.
  • Ocean currents called gyres have gathered plastic in the ocean into massive floating garbage patches thousands of miles out to sea.
  • Up to 100,000 animals die each year from eating or becoming entangled in plastic in the ocean.
  • China, Bangladesh, Italy, and Ireland have already banned or restricted plastic bag use. Los Angeles, Washington D.C., San Francisco, Mexico City, and Mumbai, as well as 200 communities in the U.S. — including Laguna Beach — have done the same.
  • Some plastics release toxins when they degrade in the ocean: bisphenol A is implicated in disrupting hormonal systems of animals, styrene monomers cause cancer, and styrene dimers and trimers are suspected of being carcinogens.
  • In the first year China implemented plastic bag restrictions, it cut plastic bag use by 2/3, eliminating 40 billion bags, which saved the energy equivalent of 11.7 million barrels of oil.
  • In a single recycling plant in Oregon, 30,000 plastic bags jam the machinery and have to be hand-removed every day.

Why is it important to me?

Be selfish for a moment. Forget all the seabirds, turtles, seals, sharks and other species already threatened that are dying from plastic in their habitat. Forget about the added pressure this puts on ecosystems already in decline. The plastic is entering our food stream through the sea life we eat. The breaking down of plastic into toxins that are then ingested by fish and other ocean species sends toxins up the food chain, impacting your dinner plate.

Is this goal realistic?

Yes. There are tons of easy ways to use less plastic every day.

  • You know the top on that to-go cup of coffee you use every single morning? It’s plastic. Bring your own mug.
  • Don’t buy bottled water. Bring your own reusable bottle, and refill it.
  • Use less packaging by buying in bulk, choose products with less wasteful packaging, and choose containers that are non-plastic (glass, wood, paper, aluminum, etc.).

Using less plastic is amazingly easy when you look closer.

How will the One World One Ocean Campaign help achieve this goal?

The first step is awareness, so we will bring attention to plastic pollution through our media campaign. Second, we will encourage people to reduce the amount of plastic they use, by using cloth bags when they shop, and limiting the use of things like straws, utensils, water bottles, to-go cup lids, and disposable packaging. Third, we will provide tools for people to use in their community to create public awareness of plastic waste.


In addition to market-driven solutions, we need legal protections to protect vulnerable ocean habitats. Less than 2% of the ocean is protected, compared with 12% of our land resources, yet the ocean makes up 71% of the planet.

Surprising Facts »

  • 64% of the ocean lies beyond the jurisdiction of any nation, and there are no fully protected reserves in these waters, yet they contain ecosystems where an amazing array of sea life mate, spawn, and live. These are especially vulnerable to overfishing and habitat destruction, and need legal protections.
  • Studies of 124 marine reserves in 29 nations around the world showed fishes, invertebrates, and seaweeds in the reserves increased in biomass by 446%. They increased in density by 166%. Body size of animals increased 28%. Number of species increased 21%. Heavily fished species often showed the most dramatic increases, some increasing in mass or density by 1000%.
  • A five-year study on the ecological, social, and economic dimensions of marine protected areas (MPA) worldwide concluded in 2010 that marine protected areas benefit biodiversity and people. The study at more than 70 sites in 23 tropical countries found marine-managed areas improve food security, community empowerment and engagement, environmental awareness, and human health. They also reduced user conflicts and provided greater recognition of traditional user rights.
  • Protected areas are economic engines. Marine tourism provides livelihoods and spurs economic development, particularly in emerging economies. In the Caribbean, reef diving produces US $2.1 billion in annual revenues, and tourism accounts for 43% of the regional gross domestic product. Coral reef-based tourism is worth US $9.6 billion in global annual net benefits.

How does protection take place?

There are many forms of protection. National marine sanctuaries, marine protected areas, world heritage marine sites and national monuments are all ways to provide some form of legal protection that regulates what can be done there in terms of fishing, boating, and other forms of access. They go by various names depending on where they are located, and what degree of protection they have. The purpose of an ocean protected area is the long-term conservation of specific marine ecosystems. They are the national parks of the ocean, equal to Yosemite or the Grand Canyon in beauty, biological richness and protections, but underwater.

Why is it important to me?

Since we depend on the ocean for oxygen, food, jobs, and recreation, ocean protected areas impact you personally by ensuring your ocean is healthier. Numerous marine areas have shown significant rebounds in species diversity and population levels within five to ten years after gaining protections, actually boosting things like fishing and ecotourism. The preservation of critical marine habitats ensures that you have all the benefits the ocean provides.

Is this goal realistic?

Yes. The Convention on Biological Diversity signed by 193 countries recently passed a declaration to pledge to protect 10% of all marine areas by 2020. This goal has international support, but we need to make sure it actually happens. Policy makers really listen to public comment on marine protected areas — your opinion counts here, and together, we have a pretty loud voice.

How will the One World One Ocean Campaign help achieve this goal?

Our films and other media projects promote the success of ocean protected areas, and help people understand their importance. At no cost, we’ll provide top-notch film footage and photos from existing and potential marine reserves for our NGO partners and other organizations to use in their campaigns.

We will encourage people to sign petitions on our website and support our NGO partners’ campaigns to create new marine protected areas. We will encourage people to learn more about these protected areas and visit them when possible.

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