Solutions & Success Stories

Although the ocean is facing many challenges, here we celebrate the success stories and solutions that move our waters in the right direction.

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Earth as seen from a satellite.

The Time For Earth Optimism is Now

Earth as seen from a satellite. Credit: NASA Here at the Smithsonian we think the time for Earth Optimism is now. So we are bringing together stories of success at the Earth Optimism Summit...
North Atlantic right whales and ocean-going vessels often cross paths.

Slow Down for Right Whales

Video of Slow Down For Right Whales By Hannah Waters Right whales in the North Atlantic are real city slickers. Rather than spend their time in the ocean’s wide-open range, they swim in warm...
Mangroves on the edge of the water.

Mangrove Restoration: Letting Mother Nature Do The Work

Red mangroves form an impenetrable, protective barrier against storms and tsunamis. Credit: Smithsonian Institution By Hannah Waters The ecological importance of coastal mangrove forests is common knowledge today. The trees’ gnarled roots , submerged...

Bringing Back Tampa Bay’s Seagrass

Seagrasses are flowering plants that can form dense underwater meadows and are an important shallow water habitat. Credit: Heather Dine, Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary By Hannah Waters Back in the 1970s, if any...

Lamlash Bay Marine Reserve

In 2008, the Lamlash Bay No-Take Zone was created — a small square-mile area where fishing was banned. It was Scotland’s first community-led marine protected area. Scientists monitored the area and, within five years,...
King scallop in Lamlash Bay reserve

A lesson learned twice: The Story of Scotland’s Marine Protected Areas

A king scallop in Lamlash Bay protected area. Credit: Howard Wood By Hannah Waters Howard Wood was 15 years old when his family moved to the Isle of Arran and he got his first...
A puffin sits on a rock next to a puffin decoy.

How the Puffin Returned to Eastern Egg Rock

Wood carved puffin decoys were placed on rocks to attract the return of fledgling puffins. Credit: Derrick Z. Jackson, co-author with Steve Kress of "Project Puffin," published by Yale University Press By Hannah Waters...
Hawaiian Monk Seal

Struggling to Survive, But with a Chance to Thrive

Progress for Eight Endangered Ocean Creatures Video of Species in the Spotlight: Survive to Thrive By Ellen Spooner From snails to whales, approximately 2,270 species are listed as endangered or threatened globally under the...

NOAA Species in the Spotlight

Under the Endangered Species Act, NOAA manages 125 endangered and threatened marine species. Of all the species NOAA protects under the ESA, NOAA considers eight among the most at risk of extinction in the...

Endangered Ocean

From snails to whales, approximately 2,270 species are listed as endangered or threatened globally under the U.S. Endangered Species Act (ESA). Of the species that are listed, approximately 150 of them live in the...

Turning Nets Into Carpet

There are many plastic nets floating in the world's ocean. Some of them were lost at sea by fishers; others were discarded overboard when they ripped or became tangled. Regardless, once they are adrift,...

Map of Shark Protections Through Time

Sharks face many threats from people, including extreme overfishing driven by high prices for their fins, and being caught by mistake in nets and on longlines. While there is still much work to be...

Ocean Optimism Video - Slow Down For Right Whales

Whaling, beginning in the 1600s, killed thousands of North Atlantic right whales and their tendency to feed at the ocean’s surface within 50 miles of shore made them easy targets. They were hunted so...

Cabo Pulmo World Heritage Biosphere Reserve

Cabo Pulmo is the northernmost coral reef in the eastern Pacific, and, at around 20,000 years old, it may be the oldest and most important reef in the American Pacific. The preservation of Cabo...
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When Life Gives You Lionfish…

Jeweler Palovi Baezar with her first set of lionfish earrings, which she made in the summer of 2013. Credit: Phil Karp By Kalila Morsink It was the summer of 2013, and Phil Karp was...
Horseshoe Crab in Stage Harbor, Massachusetts

This Flu Season, Thank a Horseshoe Crab

A small horseshoe crab rests on seaweed in Stage Harbor, Massachusetts. Credit: © Luke Robinson (Creative Commons via Flickr) Fever. Aching muscles. Coughing. Sniffling. It’s flu season . Have you had your shot? If...
An underwater photo of coral recovering from a bleaching event.

A Pleasant Surprise: The Recovery of Bleached Panamanian Corals

These corals are still in recovery after a mass bleaching in Panama, in the summer of 2010. You can see some bleaching on the tops, but the sides are looking good. Credit: Amanda Feuerstein...
Sophi Bromenshenkel poses with a hammerhead shark snow sculpture.

Saving Sharks and Dolphins, Near and Far

Shark-lover and Minnesota native Sophi Bromenshenkel poses with her hammerhead snow sculpture. The eight-year-old is one of Oceana's 2011 Ocean Heroes . Credit: Courtesy of Neil Bromenshenkel Sophi Bromenshenkel is an unlikely shark -lover...

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