The oceans are one of Earth's most important habitats. Covering more than 70% of the planet's surface, they are home to countless species, and provide mankind with food, transportation routes and livelihoods. The oceans also produce more than half of the oxygen in the atmosphere, and play a fundamental role in regulating the earth's temperature and weather systems.
Increasingly, however, the oceans are suffering as a result of manmade problems. Recent reports proved that human littering affects all areas of the marine environment, no matter how far-flung or deep. Other major issues facing the oceans today include chemical pollution, chronic overfishing and climate change. It all sounds like bad news, but there is good news too: The fightback has begun. This introduction to marine conservation outlines some of the major problems facing our oceans today, and some of the extraordinary lengths people are going to in order to protect them.