Inspiring Ocean Conservation Fact Sheet

Human survival depends on preserving the health of the ocean. Today, we’re working more effectively than ever on behalf of ocean health by integrating science-based conservation research with policy initiatives and partnerships that are making a difference.

Thriving Ocean Wildlife

Sea otters, sharks and bluefin tuna are among the most beloved and awe-inspiring species in our exhibits. They are also among the most vulnerable—and we're committed to help ensure their long-term survival. Our current focus is on the population biology and ecology of these species, whose health is vital to ocean ecosystems in the California Current and across the Pacific Ocean.

Southern Sea Otters

The Monterey Bay Aquarium's Sea Otter Program has been studying the threatened southern sea otter since 1984 to understand threats to the population and promote its recovery through policy action. Guided by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service sea otter recovery plan, we also rescue, treat and release injured sea otters; raise and release stranded pups through our surrogate program; and find homes for sea otters that can't return to the wild.


Despite popular perceptions of sharks as invincible, shark populations around the world are declining because of overfishing, habitat destruction and other human activities. The Aquarium conducts innovative research, and promotes awareness and conservation of white sharks, and public understanding and protection of this ecologically important and threatened species. Learn more about our work tagging white sharks, and researching white shark genetics.


Since the 1960s, the abundance of tunas and other top ocean predators has decreased dramatically around the world. The Monterey Bay Aquarium and its Seafood Watch Program work with government agencies and fisheries management organizations worldwide in support of policies to safeguard ocean health. The Aquarium partners with Stanford University in the Tuna Research and Conservation Center (TRCC) on a wide range of research initiatives to learn more about bluefin tuna and help inform conservation of this iconic species.


In addition to our studies of population biology and ecology, the Aquarium conducts research involving many of the species in our exhibits. Those diverse studies are aimed at understanding the basic biology and proper care of the animals in our living collection, as well to enhance their conservation in the wild. Learn more about recent husbandry research projects on our website.

Visit the Aquarium’s Conservation & Science webpage to learn more about our research efforts.


The Aquarium’s Ocean Conservation Policy Program aims to inspire and inform government decision makers to take science-based action on behalf of ocean health. We work at local, state, national and international levels to advance policies that protect key species like sea otters, sharks and tuna—and to address global threats to fisheries and human coastal communities, including overfishing, plastic pollution and climate change.

Sustainable Fisheries & Aquaculture

Since the establishment of our Seafood Watch program in 1999, the Aquarium has become one of the most respected sources of science-based information used by business and consumers to find and purchase seafood from ocean-friendly sources, both wild and farmed. In a global seafood market, our seafood program has expanded, using market-based incentives as well as advocacy for policy change to shift fisheries and aquaculture in more sustainable directions.

Learn more about the Aquarium’s initiatives to protect ocean health through policy and sustainable fisheries on our webpage.