ACP aquariums work together to advance the following conservation goals:
Equity & Environmental Justice
The ocean, lakes, rivers, and streams are important for everyone—they produce oxygen and food, store carbon and heat, offer space for economic activities and recreation, and continue to inspire and support diverse cultures and well-being. Access to these resources is rarely equitably distributed. Many of their benefits are accumulated by a few, while most harms from overexploitation, habitat destruction, and pollution are felt by the most vulnerable. Climate change has created and exacerbated the challenges of fairness and equity. Additionally, the lack of racial diversity within conservation and aquarium sectors is a persistent problem that is becoming increasingly recognized.
What We Do
All of ACP’s conservation goals are inextricably linked to issues of environmental and social justice. As aquariums, our members operate as both businesses and conservation organizations, and ACP is committed to confronting issues of racial, gender, and social equity within the aquarium industry and the broader environmental movement. We are defining what equity means to us and what it looks like for our work, our members, our audiences, and our communities. We prioritize this work so we may continue to learn from each other and our communities to build a more equitable future together.
Wildlife & Ecosystem Protection
Marine Protected Areas make up less than 3% of our global ocean.
Ocean and freshwater health are declining due to a variety of human activities such as climate change, habitat destruction, pollution, and overfishing.
What We Do
As the blue planet’s stewards, we support science-based policies to restore and protect our nation’s wildlife and their habitats — from foundational environmental laws to ambitious initiatives to create more marine protected areas.
Our ocean, lakes, and rivers are also sources of climate solutions. We can build resilience to the impacts of climate change by restoring and conserving natural habitats by championing effective wildlife protection policies, curbing pollution, and managing fisheries and other natural resources in sustainable ways.
Fisheries & Aquaculture
18% of commercial fish stocks in the U.S. are listed as overfished.
Ocean-based food production from fisheries and marine aquaculture has great potential to support a more sustainable, nutritious, and resilient food future. But producing more food in the ocean is not without challenges.
What We Do
ACP aquariums, as champions of sustainable seafood, are in a unique position to support responsible ocean-based food production. We also have an opportunity to “walk the talk” in reviewing sourcing policies in the seafood we feed the animals in our care.
Aquariums and our seafood partners, including suppliers, restaurants, and chefs, are unique and powerful voices for advancing policies that accelerate the shift toward more sustainable seafood sources to protect the long-term health of the ocean — and the coastal communities that depend on it.
If we don’t make changes now, the ocean will become 150% more acidic by 2100.
Climate change is the greatest threat to the future of our planet, people everywhere, and our life-giving ocean and freshwater systems. Reducing greenhouse gas emissions is the most important thing we can do for our blue planet. For decades, the global ocean has been taking the heat for climate change, absorbing more than 90% of the excess heat and nearly a third of the carbon dioxide generated by greenhouse gas emissions. The result is an ocean that is warmer, more acidic, starved of oxygen, and less habitable for fish and marine wildlife. The impacts are equally as serious in freshwater ecosystems.
These impacts affect us too — through sea level rise, more intense storms and droughts, and reduced seafood catches. Often the communities most impacted by climate change are those harmed from histories of racial and environmental inequities, and whose voices must be centered as we move to take further action on climate change.
What We Do
For the well-being of people and all life on Earth, we must take immediate and significant action to address the climate crisis. ACP aquariums work together to combat climate change by reducing emissions from operations through a joint commitment to achieve carbon neutrality, advancing nature-based solutions through conservation and restoration projects and policies, and engaging audiences to take climate action.
½ of all sea turtles on the planet have ingested plastic.
As plastic production continues to rise, so does the amount of plastic pollution in our ocean, rivers, lakes and streams. This plastic is impacting hundreds of species of wildlife and contaminating entire aquatic ecosystems. It can be found in almost every marine habitat, from the ocean surface to deep sea sediments to the ocean’s vast mid-water region, as well as in the Great Lakes.
In addition to its impacts on ecosystems and wildlife, plastic disproportionately affects marginalized and disenfranchised communities, causing health, well-being, and access issues. Plastic is also a climate issue — it is a major source of greenhouse gas emissions at every step of the production process and therefore is a serious contributor to climate change.
What We Do
Tackling plastic pollution in a meaningful way takes the best science as well as concerted action by industry, consumers, and government. ACP aquariums promote personal, business, and policy action to reduce the production and use of plastic – especially single-use plastic – and drive innovative alternatives by raising public awareness and increasing consumer demand for alternatives to single-use plastic, reducing single-use plastic in aquarium operations and inspiring others to take action, and advancing policies to reduce the sources of ocean and freshwater plastic pollution.
ACP Plastic Campaign