Protecting important marine habitat is critical for maintaining healthy oceans and restoring biodiversity. Many marine habitats act as essential fish habitat, acting as a nursery for young fish, providing shelter from predators or acting as a food source. Fisheries managers in many countries are required by law to minimize the impacts of fishing on these areas for the benefit of fisheries and marine life.

Marine habitat is also important for other marine creatures, including marine mammals, sea turtles and sharks. Many of these species are keystone species, and the health of their populations is an important indicator of the health of marine ecosystems. Protecting important ocean habitats from destructive fishing practices and pollution protects all marine life, from top predators to tiny zooplankton.

Protecting marine habitat is a crucial part of Oceana’s international strategy to protect and restore ocean abundance, alongside other advocacy work to reduce bycatch and set responsible catch limits.

Previous examples of habitat protections the Seco de los Olivos seamount south of the coast of Spain, which Oceana in Europe studied for several years through expeditions. Oceana in Chile was successful at creating the Sala y Gómez Marine Park, a no-take marine reserve. Learn more about Oceana’s efforts to protect marine habitat in the United States, Europe and Chile