© James CASEY / WWF-Canada


The world’s oceans produce more than half of the oxygen that sustains life on the planet. And their ability to absorb carbon dioxide helps protect all life from the harsh impact of climate change.

Our oceans are also the main source of protein for about one billion people around the world. And more than 200 million people fish for a living.

Canada has the world’s longest coastline—bordering the Pacific, Atlantic and Arctic oceans—and one of the largest ocean bodies of any country in the world.

Oceans in crisis

Once considered an inexhaustible source of food, our oceans are now in a state of global crisis caused by overfishing—which is the single biggest threat to ocean life—and poor management.

WWF Expert

© WWF-Canada
Bettina Saier
Director, Oceans Program
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© Cat Holloway/WWF
© Cat Holloway/WWF
Over the past 50 years, many large ocean fish such as Bluefin tuna, cod and sharks have been fished to the point of collapse. Today, about 80 per cent of the world’s fish stocks are fully exploited, overexploited or depleted.

Bycatch, which is the unintended capture of certain species, is one of the biggest problems in fishing. Every day, millions of non-target fish are caught and die. Each year, more than 250,000 marine turtles, 300,000 cetaceans and thousands of endangered sharks are trapped in commercial fishing gear.

Other demands on our oceans are accelerating. Shipping, tourism, oil and gas, renewable energy and the growth of coastal communities—all of these take a toll on ocean habitats and species. What’s more, climate change is changing ocean temperatures and acidification.

This is why we urgently need smart ocean management plans that protect important ocean ecosystems—and will keep all our oceans healthy.
© Neil McDaniel / WWF-Canada
© Neil McDaniel / WWF-Canada

Bowie Seamount – Sgaan Kinghlas

The 7th Marine Wonder of Canada. Find out why a unique underwater oasis off British Columbia’s West Coast has been designated a marine protected area and what needs to happen now.
© Alan Burger / WWF-Canada
© Alan Burger / WWF-Canada

What WWF is doing

WWF-Canada is leading the transition to ‘sustainable seafood’, smart oceans management, and sustainable ocean economies to ensure that all three of Canada’s oceans—Pacific, Atlantic and Arctic—remain ecologically rich and economically prosperous.

With good management it is possible to sustain our fisheries, create jobs and build economies—all in ways that protect the health of Canada’s oceans.