yellow tailed fusilier- Ningaloo Reef / ©: Julie Fletcher Photography/Getty

Oceans & marine

Protecting Australia’s oceans and coasts

Oceans cover over 70% of the Earth’s surface and contain a diverse array of species, habitats and ecosystems. As many as 100 million species – from the world’s biggest animal, the blue whale, to the tiniest bacteria – reside in our oceans, contributing to a rich biodiversity that far outweighs that on land.

Oceans and coasts are important to the animals and plants that call them home, but for centuries humans have also reaped large rewards from these environments. People use and benefit from oceans and coasts in a number of important ways, including through:
  • recreational activities like boating, swimming, snorkelling and scuba-diving
     
  • enjoying pleasant living environments. According to the United Nations, 60% of the world’s population lives within 60 kilometres of the coast
     
  • tourism. Coastal regions and oceans support a significant tourism industry, which represents 80% of all tourism
     
  • fisheries industries that are a significant source of nutrition, particularly protein. Fisheries also create significant economic benefits through generating income, jobs and supporting related industries.
     
  • reserves of oil, gas and minerals, which are located beneath the sea floor in many parts of the world. Their extraction currently contributes significantly to our energy and resource needs
     
  • shipping. Our oceans are used to transport goods, people and cargo around the world

Even those people who will never see the ocean benefit from the oil and mineral production, sea-based transport systems and seafood production derived from commercial fishing. More fundamentally, oceans play a significant role in the production of oxygen and the regulation of our weather systems.


Industrial fisheries of orange roughy. Emptying a mesh full of orange roughy into a trawler. / ©: AFMA
© AFMA
Marine threats
Human activity, particularly over the last few decades, has finally pushed oceans to their limit.
A school of snapper fish in the waters off the coast of Vanua Levu, Fiji. / ©: Brent Stirton / Getty Images
© Brent Stirton / Getty Images
Marine solutions
WWF is working with partners, government and retailers to ensure our oceans are being protected and to transform fishing into sustainable business.