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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Nancy Knowlton speaking about the "Future of the Ocean"

The Future of the Ocean

Nancy Knowlton, the Sant Chair of Marine Science at the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History, asks "What is the likely future of our ancestral home?" The answer depend on what humans do now...
Trout cages in 30 feet of water.

Aquaculture Comes Full Circle

Trout cages sit in 30 feet of water and are surrounded by ropes where mussels and sugar kelp grow, absorbing excess nutrients in the water. Credit: Rebecca Zeiber, N.H. Sea Grant Until recently we...
An opah at the Honolulu Fish Auction with a printed label attached that includes an ID number, bar code, the date, the receiver's ID number, the cart number, species name, vessel name, and weight of the fish.

“Storied Fish”: Why Sustainable Seafood Requires A Tale

An opah at the Honolulu Fish Auction with a printed label attached that includes an ID number, bar code, the date, the receiver's ID number, the cart number, species name, vessel name, and weight...

How Laws Around the World Help Improve Ocean Health

Solving environmental problems often starts with small groups of people working to make things better. But to sustain and scale up environmental successes often requires government support. The Ocean Portal has joined with Earthjustice...
A sculpture of a giant octopus made of ocean debris

Washed Ashore: Art to Save the Sea

Octavia embodies the curiosity and intelligence characteristic of the octopus. She inquisitively tinkers and plays with her surrounding environment. Credit: Washed Ashore While we don't know exactly how much trash is afloat in the...
Cleaning up abandoned fishing nets

Upcycled Ocean Plastic

The Possibilities Are Endless For Reuse of Plastic Ocean Trash Here, workers from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) remove discarded fishing nets from Midway Atoll in the Pacific. Though Norton Point doesn’t...

Ocean Optimism - Video

Focusing on the state of the ocean today can be pretty depressing. So depressing that it's easy to forget that our positive actions are making a difference. In 2014, #OceanOptimism started a global movement...

Living on the Edge: Mangroves

Mangroves are the biological buffers between land and sea. Without them, communities living along shorelines would be directly exposed to violent storm surge and erosion. Also crucial to fish communities, mangroves provide fertile nursery...
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...

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...

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