Oceans | WWF




Ensure a balanced and healthier future for our seas that will reward us all.


Read More


Everyone on earth depends on the sea – whether it’s for food, jobs, energy, leisure, or simply a habitable climate. The sea provides oxygen, nourishment, transport and habitats for humans and millions of species. Meanwhile, marine habitats provide vital protection against coastal erosion and flooding.


The UAE has a particularly close relationship with the Arabian sea. Our country grew up on pearl diving and seaborne trade. Today, a huge part of our economy and day to day lives still rely on the latter – from trade, to fishing, leisure and tourism.
In recent years it has become even more significant, supplying most of our water through desalination.  


Unique and wonderful creatures depend on our regional seas, including dugongs, dolphins, sea turtles, and different species of shark and whales. These rely on healthy habitats such as a diversity of coral reefs, seagrass meadows and mangroves.  

Yet the way we treat our seas is taking a heavy toll. For example:

- The majority of the world’s coastlines have been modified by development. Coastal development and unsustainable business practices – particularly in the tourism sector – disturb species and habitats
- Irresponsible fishing is decimating fish-stocks and causing harm to other species through by-catch and illegally disposed fishing gear
- Industry, shipping and pollution all have an impact on life we cannot see
- Climate change is affecting the delicate balance of the seas through rising sea water temperatures. Considering the Arabian Gulf – the world’s warmest sea – is already a challenging environment for marine life, further temperature rises could have a profound impact


If we can’t sustain our seas, then they can’t sustain us. It’s time to redefine the relationship. A careful management of marine resources is key for a sustainable future. EWS-WWF understands the importance of economic growth across the UAE. Our work shows that it needn’t come at the expense of our sea’s health and children’s future.  



Within UAE waters, EWS-WWF is promoting integrated marine management to ensure that marine ecosystems continue to function and remain resilient in the long term. We are working with key UAE stakeholders and experts to fill in critical knowledge gaps around marine habitats and update existing information on ‘High Biodiversity Areas’. This step is vital for the UAE to establish a successful network of Marine Protected Areas (MPAs).

MPAs have been proven to be one of the most effective tools for marine management and conservation. They ensure that important habitats are protected from climate change and human activity. Ultimately, MPAs can help ensure that marine resources are sustained for social, economic and cultural enrichment.


EWS-WWF is spearheading regional collaboration to conserve endangered migratory species of global importance such as marine turtles and the Arabian Sea humpback whale. These long-living creatures cross vast distances, requiring special conservation plans that span boundaries.

By working closely with our local and regional partners, we are identifying critical habitats, sharing information and knowledge, and discussing key challenges to turtle and whale populations in the region.


The private sector has a crucial role to play in marine conservation, especially in tourism. This sector depends on healthy coasts and seas, but also has a major impact on them. From promoting sustainable development to cleaner day-to-day behaviour, we aim to help UAE businesses become champions of the sea.


Gulf marine species are remarkable – they already function in extreme conditions such as warm, very salty seas. Any climatic changes could cause changes in sea temperature and lead to changes in migration and nesting patterns. For example, temperature changes are known to affect seagrass growth, alter the gender balance of marine turtles and cause some species to migrate to different areas.

EWS-WWF is involved in extensive research to understand the impact of climate change on marine biodiversity. Our work in strengthening the current framework of MPAs ultimately aims at building resilience to the impacts of climate change – such as increased storm surge, temperature rises and sea level rises.


What You Can Do

Living in harmony with nature is a mantra etched into every aspect of our work. We can all make smarter everyday choices whether it means reducing plastic waste, being mindful of our behaviour when diving or giving turtles the space they need to nest and lay eggs. By recognising and addressing our impact on the natural world, we are helping to safeguard the planet’s precious wildlife and habitat.

How You Can Help

Green Turtle Conservation

View More


View More