Ocean

Why It’s Important

We have the power to shape the ocean’s future today.

All life on Earth depends on the ocean. It is home to more species than we could ever count—creatures both microscopic and majestic. It is a critical source of food and income for families and communities, providing the primary animal protein for billions of people around the world and supporting the livelihoods of hundreds of millions. The ocean is also a natural engine that produces most of the world’s oxygen and regulates our global climate.

It is easy to think of the world’s ocean as infinitely boundless, vibrant and healthy. Unfortunately, that’s not the case. Increasing threats—caused by humans—are putting pressure on the ocean and damaging its ability to sustain us. We are rapidly destroying places that fish and wildlife need to feed and reproduce. We are fishing in ways that do not give stocks time to recover. We are building fish farms that do more long-term harm than short-term good. On top of that, human-caused climate change is warming the ocean and making it more acidic, which in turn makes life in the ocean harder to sustain. All of these pressures together erode the ocean’s ability to bounce back. If left unaddressed they will undermine the health and productivity of our ocean, harm the global economy and endanger our own well-being.

Because humans caused these threats, we—as a society—have the power to address them and shape the ocean’s future today. The David and Lucile Packard Foundation has supported ocean conservation and science for half a century. We remain committed to doing our part to shape a future where the ocean thrives.

1 in 3

people worldwide rely on the ocean for their livelihoods.

350 million

jobs are linked to the ocean worldwide.

> 2.6 billion

people rely on the ocean for their primary source of food.

> 230,000

plants and animal species are known to live in the ocean.

2 million

ocean species are yet to be discovered, as estimated by scientists.

1 in 2

of the breaths we take comes from oxygen produced by plants in the ocean.