The ocean occupies over 70% of our world or 139 million square miles, and a new campaign launched last April aims to protect 5% of it in the next five years. It may seem insignificant, but at 7 million square miles, it is larger than the entire continent of South America. Given that only about 3% of the world’s ocean is currently completely covered, both the goal and the timeline are ambitious. According to M. Sanjayan, CEO of Conservation International, one of the organizations leading the project, the Blue Nature Alliance has a “very audacious target.” “In terms of scale and pace, it’s probably the largest single conservation initiative.”

The Blue Nature Alliance has raised $125 million to protect the ocean from these risks, thanks to a partnership between Conservation International and other environmental and social non-profits such as The Pew Charitable Trusts, the Global Environment Facility, Minderoo Foundation, and the Rob and Melani Walton Foundation. The Alliance’s initial focus is on seven ocean locations: Antarctica, Fiji, Canada, Seychelles, Palau, the Western Indian Ocean, and Tristan da Cunha, a South Atlantic Ocean island. More than a third of the overall target is covered by these regions, which total over 2.5 million square miles. It says it will commence by concentrating on conservation in these areas, collaborating with local communities and national leaders to create new marine protected areas (MPAs), and strengthen the management of existing ones.