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Five Organizations That Are Leading in Marine Conservation

With the ocean covering more than 70 percent of our globe, marine conservation is critical to environmental protection. Overfishing, rising temperatures, plastic pollution, and coral bleaching are just several of the problems that threaten marine life and the health of the oceans. Several nonprofits and startups are stepping up with creative solutions to the problems plaguing the sea. 

>>>READ: How Traditional Fisherman in India Are Cleaning the Ocean

Here are five organizations creating innovative solutions to preserve the ocean and coastal communities worldwide: 

Save the Waves 

Save the Waves Coalition is a global nonprofit focused on protecting ocean ecosystems in popular surfing areas, or ‘surf ecosystems,’ worldwide. The coalition’s goal is to protect 1,000 surf ecosystems by 2030 around the world.

Save the Waves partners with local organizations to implement either a world surfing reserve, which protects coastline and open ocean areas that offer great wave breaks, or a surf-protected area, which conserves surf ecosystems that overlap with biodiversity hotspots. Save the Waves then works with coastal communities around protected areas to carry out projects that steward the area well. Save the Waves then implements public awareness campaigns to keep these surf ecosystems protected. 

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The organization is working in Brazil’s Guarda do Embau World Surfing Reserve to protect the Rio do Madre River by conducting water quality tests, implementing a coastal monitoring strategy, and restoring native plants throughout the reserve to reduce erosion.  

Save the Waves has developed an app that allows surfers, ocean lovers, and beachgoers to report issues at local surf spots in real time. 

Olokun Minerals

Desalination provides clean drinking water to many areas of the globe but also generates brine which can harm marine life because of higher salinity levels. Olokun Minerals is helping to solve the problem by developing a technology that captures brine waste in desalination plants and extracts critical minerals from the saline solution. 

“There are eleven ions that make up 99.9% of salts in seawater including sodium, magnesium, calcium, and potassium,” the company writes. “These minerals are the building blocks of our existence and are sold to a variety of industries, from food, textiles, and paper to construction, automobiles, and pharmaceutical products.”

Olokun Minerals uses water instead of more commonly used chemicals to extract these minerals which speeds up and improves the efficiency of its process. 


Plastic-i is revolutionizing the way to monitor ocean conditions. The company uses satellite monitoring and artificial intelligence to generate data, providing actionable environmental insights that can help serve as a guide for policymakers and stakeholders. While this application of technology allows Plastic-i to map out marine habitats like seagrass and mangroves, its most impactful use is the ability to track and map ocean plastic pollution. 

>>>READ: How one Scottish Distillery is Funding Research to Protect the Ocean

“Our first mission is to tackle marine plastic pollution,” explained Plastic-i cofounder James Doherty. “Up to 14 million tonnes of plastic pour into the ocean each year, destroying ecosystems, damaging natural capital, and inflicting suffering on coastal communities. Plastic-i is pioneering an AI-powered solution for mapping and combating marine plastic pollution. We use satellite imagery and deep learning to generate maps of floating plastic debris on a global scale.”

The startup’s technology is helping to fill a crucial knowledge gap in accurately monitoring plastic pollution. With Plastic-i’s data, policymakers and other conservation groups can more clearly understand the issue and track and clean up ocean plastics. 

Origin by Ocean

Algae are not always harmless—many types of algal blooms can be toxic to humans and marine life alike and have devastating impacts on coastal communities. Origin by Ocean is mitigating this problem by turning harmful algae into new products. 

Origin by Ocean’s biorefining process takes invasive algae and farmed seaweed and extracts bio-based chemicals from the materials. The company can then convert extracted chemicals into new materials that will be the building blocks for other products, like bio-based thickening agents, binding agents, pigments, and biocomposites. 

And, in collecting algae, Origin by Ocean empowers coastal entrepreneurs and directly employs people to harvest algae. While extraction is currently focused in the Caribbean and the Baltic Sea, this process could eventually create revenue opportunities for coastal communities around the globe. 


Reefy is “bridging the gap between engineering and ecology.” The company partners with marine developers to build better ocean infrastructure. Its star engineering solution is a reef-enhancing breakwater. 

A breakwater is a manmade structure permanently installed in coastal areas that helps protect the coastline from storm surges, tides, strong currents, and more. Reefy’s breakwater solution can support an artificial coral reef and increase biodiversity in a local area and is strong enough to still serve the function of a breakwater.

Technology is a powerful tool for marine conservation. Companies and coalitions across the globe are developing innovative solutions to solve the present and future challenges the ocean faces.

Kelvey Vander Hart is a native Iowan, a member of the American Conservation Coalition, and a communications specialist at Reason Foundation.

The views and opinions expressed are those of the author’s and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of C3.

Copyright © 2020 Conservative Coalition for Climate Solutions

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