The Global Ocean Refuge System brings together the world's best protected ocean places and the people that care about them.

The Global Ocean Refuge System (GLORES) uses up-to-date science to award and celebrate effective protected areas. These Global Ocean Refuges set shining examples for others to follow. Our awards incentivize governments to meet science-based standards and make meaningful commitments to ocean protection.


the best protected marine sites and managers


outstanding commitments to lasting protection


greater conservation efforts worldwide

Together we can protect marine life in every ocean ecosystem.

Help us to build a global ocean refuge system of protected areas covering 30% of all marine habitats.

Meet the first three marine protected areas inducted into the Global Ocean Refuge System

Congratulations to Tubbataha Reef, Papaphanaumokuakea, and Malpelo.

Marine protected areas enable parts of the ocean to rejuvenate without human interference and they can serve as replenishment zones for fisheries and provide safe harbors for entire ecosystems.

Secretary John F. Kerry

U.S. Department of State

Marine protected areas are clearly a positive trend, a reflection of the growing awareness of governments across the globe that the oceans and their bounty are not limitless or indestructible.

The New York Times

Editorial Board (February 15, 2014)

The best science now confirms that our approach [permanent protection] to managing the ocean is sound.

Tommy Remengesau Jr.

President of Palau

We have to keep the momentum going so that we can come together and protect our ocean. Why? Because our ocean is absolutely essential for life itself – not just the food, but the oxygen and weather cycles of the planet all depend on the ocean.

Secretary John F. Kerry

U.S. Department of State (Our Ocean 2016)

The Global Ocean Refuge System is critical to saving the biodiversity of our oceans. It makes so much sense, we all should have thought of it a long time ago.

Dr. Sylvia Earle

Renowned Ocean Conservationist

We cannot truly protect our planet without protecting our ocean.

Barack Obama

President of the United States of America (Our Ocean 2016)

GLORES is the most exciting marine conservation initiative I’ve seen in a while! I think we urgently need something that can be an alternative to a simple rating of conservation success based on the number of square kilometers their MPAs cover.

Dr. Rodolphe Devillers

Memorial University of Newfoundland

The creation of a marine-protected area is only the start of an effective conservation effort, not the end.

The New York Times

Editorial Board (February 15, 2014)

GLORES helps focus the attention of people and policymakers around the world on the vital need to ensure that our oceans will continue to provide the ecosystem services so vital to all life on earth.

Michael Sutton

Social Entrepreneur and Conservation Leader

We have a responsibility to make sure our kids and their families and the future has the same ocean to serve it in the same way as we have — not to be abused, but to preserve and utilize.

Secretary John F. Kerry

U.S. Department of State

As never before, there's a sense of urgency about taking action to take care of the natural world. We have the power of choice. This is the sweet spot in time when we have the chance to take the knowledge that we have and apply it in ways that are vital...Nothing else matters if we fail to make peace with nature.

Dr. Sylvia Earle

Renowned Ocean Conservationist (World Conservation Congress 2016)

It’s been said that we don’t inherit the Earth from our parents so much as we borrow it from our children. They know that. Our children prove every day that they care deeply about this planet. Their right to inherit a healthy planet is a sacred responsibility for all of us. And how we treat our oceans is a big part of that burden.

Barack Obama

President of the United States of America (Our Ocean 2016)

GLORES Drives Conservation Success Now and for Future Generations

Science Council

  • David Ainley

    Senior Ecologist at H. T. Harvey & Associates

  • Mark Carr

    Professor of marine ecology in the Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology at the University of California at Santa Cruz

  • Ratana Chuenpagdee

    Professor in Geography at Memorial University of Newfoundland

  • Leslie Cornick

    Chair of the Scientific Advisory Committee for the Alaska Marine Conservation Council

  • John A. Cigliano

    Cedar Crest College, Acadia National Park, United States

  • Barbara Horta e Costa

    Postdoc researcher at CCMAR

  • Mark J. Costello

    University of Auckland, New Zealand

  • Joachim Claudet

    National Center for Scientific Research, France

  • Tammy Davies

    Marine Scientist at BirdLife International

  • Jon C. Day

    Great Barrier Reef Marine Protected Area Director (1998-2014

  • Daniel C. Dunn

    Duke University, United States

  • Rodolphe Devillers

    Memorial University of Newfoundland, Canada

  • Alan Friedlander

    National Geographic Society, University of Hawai'i, United States

  • Emanuel Gonçalves

    Oceano Azul Foundation, Marine and Environmental Sciences Centre (MARE), Portugal

  • Kirsten Grorud-Colvert

    Marine ecologist and assistant professor in the Integrative Biology Department at Oregon State University

  • Ellen M Hines

    Professor & Associate Director of the Romberg Tiburon Center for Environmental Studies

  • Mark Hixon

    Professor and Hsiao Endowed Chair in Marine Biology Department of Biology University of Hawai‘i

  • David Hyrenbach

    Hawai'i Pacific University, United States

  • Sarah E. Lester

    Professor in the Geography Department at Florida State University

  • Sara Maxwell

    Assistant Professor at Old Dominion University

  • Douglas McCauley

    Assistant Professor at the University of California Santa Barbara

  • Laurence McCook

    President's International Visiting Professorial Fellow with the Chinese Academy of Sciences

  • Lance Morgan

    Marine Conservation Institute, United States

  • Elliott Norse

    Marine Conservation Institute, United States

  • Bethan O’Leary

    University of York, United Kingdom

  • Jennifer O'Leary

    California Sea Grant, Cal Poly, United States

  • Rashid Sumaila

    Professor and Director of the Fisheries Economics Research Unit at the University of British Columbia

  • Arthur Omondi Tuda

    Kenya Wildlife Service, Kenya

The Global Ocean Refuge System improves the quality and quantity of marine protection globally by awarding protected areas that meet science-based standards. It is helping the world create an urgently-needed worldwide system of strongly protected areas through strategic and cost-effective ways, ensuring the future diversity and abundance of marine life.

Marine Conservation Institute's marine scientists and environmental-policy advocates are dedicated to saving ocean life for us and future generations. Founded in 1996, Marine Conservation Institute is a US-based nonprofit organization with offices in Seattle, near San Francisco and in Washington DC.  For more information please go to:

For all inquiries, please contact:

[email protected]