Global Ocean Refuge System (GLORES)

Oceans are essential to human survival and prosperity and yet human activities are pushing many critical marine species toward extinction. The best way to maintain the oceans’ diversity, abundance and resilience is to protect marine life in their ecosystems.

The Global Ocean Refuge System (GLORES, pronounced "glories") is an initiative by Marine Conservation Institute designed to catalyze strong protection for 30% of the ecosystems in each marine biogeographic region of the world’s oceans by 2030. It is a strategic, science-based way to safeguard marine ecosystems and will enable humans to recover marine life for us and future generations.

Currently only about 3% of the ocean is protected, and just over 1.5% is strongly protected in “no-take” reserves where humans are not allowed to extract fish, oil or other resources. Marine scientists recommend strong protection for 30% of our oceans to save marine life from extinction. Please become involved with GLORES today and be a part of the growing team working to catalyze strong protection for marine life!

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Marine Conservation Institute President Dr. Lance Morgan announces at Our Ocean 2016 our commitment to review the first ten protected areas for the Global Ocean Refuge System in the coming year!


Marine Conservation Institute hosted a GLORES Focus Group at the fourth annual International Marine Conservation Congress (IMCC) in St. John's, Newfoundland and Labrador Canada. The group wrestled with challenging aspects of evaluating MPAs: judging MPAs with multiple regulatory zones, identifying appropriate evidence of community engagement in MPA management, and determining the activities compatible with protecting marine life. What emerged from our efforts in St. John’s was a commitment to strengthen the GLORES evaluation framework and launch the Global Ocean Refuge System with an online nomination platform, candidate site evaluations, and inaugural GLORES awards as soon as possible. Check out out IMCC blog!


The first Global Marine Protected Areas Partner Summit was held in Redlands, California November 2015. The meeting was convened by Marine Conservation Institute and hosted by Esri, the world’s leading vendor of geographic information systems, to bring together marine conservation organizations and prominent scientists, including Dr. Sylvia Earle, to explore opportunities for collaboration and new tools for enhancing marine protected area efforts around the world. The two-day meeting focused on the Global Ocean Refuge System (GLORES) initiative as a leading tool to support global conservation efforts and catalyze strong protection for the world’s oceans. Check out the Summit Outcomes report!

On March 12th, 2015, Memorial University of Newfoundland and Marine Conservation Institute hosted ‘The Future of Marine Conservation: Local and Global Perspective’ workshop. The workshop featured the Global Ocean Refuge System (GLORES) initiative and participants were encouraged to discuss and provide insights on scientific criteria for ocean refuges. Please see the workshop's outcomes report