Can data science turn ocean conservation dreams into reality?

Several of the world’s largest environmental funders and nonprofits are stepping up their efforts to protect more of the Earth’s oceanic surface area. Launched in April 2021, the Blue Nature Alliance is a global partnership founded by Conservation International, The Pew Charitable Trusts, the Global Environment Facility, Minderoo Foundation, and the Rob & Melani Walton Foundation. By engaging local stewards and advocates on ocean conservation, the Blue Nature Alliance aims to use marine protected areas (MPAs) and other effective conservation measures to shield parts of the ocean against the harmful effects of climate change, damaging fishing practices, and habitat degradation.

The Blue Nature Alliance has set an ambitious target of protecting five percent of the world’s ocean, a massive undertaking considering that the ocean covers 71 percent of the planet. These efforts are part of a larger global movement inspired by the UN Convention on Biological Diversity to protect more of the world’s surface area from environmental threats and to keep the ecosystems humans depend on intact. Known as the 30×30 commitment, the pledge calls on leaders from nations across the world to commit to protecting 30 percent of land and 30 percent of the ocean under their governance by 2030.