Skip to main content
Focus Area

The Ocean Ecosystem

Earthjustice is restoring our ailing ocean ecosystem by using the law to establish sustainable fisheries, protect marine species and build resilience to climate change.
Brandelet / Shutterstock


Overfishing, pollution and habitat fragmentation are wearing down the health of our oceans. Add to that ocean acidification—a process caused by increased carbon emissions that can degrade coral reefs and corrode the shells of sea creatures—and warming, and it's not surprising that ocean ecosystems are rapidly collapsing.


  • PROMOTING SUSTAINABLE FISHERIES AND HEALTHY OCEAN ECOSYSTEMS through work with fisheries managers to reduce bycatch and adopt ecosystem-based, precautionary approaches to ocean management.
  • SAFEGUARDING MARINE SPECIES through litigation that holds polluters accountable and stops harmful fishing practices that put our oceans’ inhabitants at risk.
  • BUILDING RESILIENCE TO CLIMATE CHANGE by working with local and international stakeholders to reduce environmental stressors like pollution so that marine animals and corals reefs can withstand increasing acidification and warming.
  • WORKING AROUND THE WORLD to partner with organizations and communities to combat climate change, establish and defend the right to a healthy environment, and protect essential global ocean resources.

We're Restoring Ocean Health, One Fish at a Time.

After Earthjustice spent years working alongside east coast fishermen and built a groundswell of public support, the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission finally imposed, in 2012, the first-ever coast-wide cap on the catch of menhaden—one of the most important fish in the sea.

And, more than a decade of Earthjustice litigation resulted in better protections for seal lions’ primary food sources. Our landmark court victories closed Steller sea lion rookeries to industrial-scale trawling gear, marking one of the first times fishing was reduced to provide prey needed for an endangered marine species’ survival.

"Since we began working on the oceans, we've had significant wins in the courts that set precedents with respect to how the federal government manages ocean resources in a sustainable way." – Steve Roady, Sr. Staff Attorney, Oceans
We're the lawyers for the environment, and the law is on our side.