A small vessel surrounded by oil spillage in the ocean © NOAA's Office of Response and Restoration

Oil spills, like the Deepwater Horizon disaster shown above, threaten coastal communities, jobs and marine wildlife.

Defending Critical Ocean Protections


We are working to preserve and protect marine animals and their ocean homes. Through our scientific expertise and policy influence, we're taking action to protect the ocean from offshore oil drilling, and holding strong for the recovery of Pacific bluefin tuna.


A healthy ocean is the lifeblood of coastal communities — supporting tourism, fisheries and recreation while providing a home for extraordinary marine wildlife and ecosystems.

Offshore oil drilling puts coastal economies, jobs and ocean animals like sea otters at unnecessary risk. That's why we're speaking out against the federal administration's efforts to open new ocean areas to oil and gas development — including here in California.

In early 2018, we helped organize 35 other U.S. aquariums and zoos in opposing the administration's proposal, and reached out to federal legislators to protect our coastlines. We urged our visitors, email subscribers and social media followers to speak out against this plan — and thousands took action. Aquarium supporters were among the 1.6 million people who submitted public comments against new offshore drilling. We also supported the passage of a California law banning new infrastructure associated with oil drilling off the state's coast.

Together with our partners and allies, we're raising our voice to protect ocean ecosystems from threats like offshore oil drilling.


Pacific bluefin tuna swimming in the wild
Pacfic bluefin tuna (Thunnus orientalis)

We have long been a leading voice for the recovery of Pacific bluefin tuna. The population of this remarkable ocean predator — which our researchers have been studying for more than two decades — has plummeted by about 97 percent since the onset of industrial fishing. In 2017, the Aquarium helped achieve a breakthrough agreement among Pacific nations to recover the Pacific bluefin tuna population to a sustainable level.

In 2018, our team collaborated with international scientists, worked with a cross-section of stakeholders and advised U.S. officials to keep this species on the path to recovery. When international negotiators proposed to weaken Pacific bluefin protections, the U.S. and several other countries held a firm line to maintain agreed-upon conservation measures. Ultimately, Pacific nations rejected the proposed changes — reaffirming their commitment to protect this imperiled, iconic species.






Annual Review 2018 (PDF)


  • Credits
  • © Monterey Bay Aquarium Foundation