Revive Our
Oceans Finalist

USA

Pristine Seas

The ocean covers 70% of the Earth. It provides food for billions and produces over half the oxygen we breathe. Devastating human impact, however, is pushing the ocean towards a tipping point beyond which we may never recover.

National Geographic Pristine Seas, a global ocean conservation program, is leading the charge to avert catastrophe.

The project was founded by Dr. Enric Sala, National Geographic’s Explorer in Residence

A former university professor, Sala grew up by the Mediterranean Sea, where he saw the destruction wrought on the marine world first-hand. In 2008, Sala founded Pristine Seas, bringing together an expert team of scientists, filmmakers and policy experts, with the aim to protect 30% of our oceans by 2030. It has already produced over 200 peer-reviewed scientific publications and 30 documentary films to inspire others to action.

So far, Pristine Seas has worked with local communities, Indigenous Peoples, governments and partners to establish 26 marine reserves worldwide, across an area over twice the size of India. Pristine Seas is working with partners to help protect 30% of our ocean by 2030.

Since becoming an Earthshot Prize Finalist, Pristine Seas has been profiled in major media outlets including People magazine and National Geographic, and has embarked on expeditions to Colombia in partnership with the Government, and to the Canadian Arctic in partnership with Inuit communities and First Nations.

Earlier research by Pristine Seas and the Oceano Azul Foundation led to the government of Portugal expanding a protected area around the Selvagens Islands to create the largest fully protected marine reserve in Europe in November 2021.

Their work with local partners led the government of Costa Rica to expand their Cocos Island National Park 27 times in size in December 2021, protecting vital areas for endangered species such as sharks and sea turtles. In addition, their research informed the expansion of Colombia’s Malpelo Sanctuary of Flora and Fauna, and the creation of the Bajo Nuevo and Serranilla marine reserves, in June 2022.

THE EARTHSHOT PRIZE 2021 WINNERS & FINALISTS

The Earthshot Prize