Pristine Seas

Exploring and protecting some of the last truly wild places in the ocean

In July 2013, National Geographic's Pristine Seas team set out to explore Russia's Franz Josef Land—and found one of the most diverse ecosystems in the Arctic. The team was recently honored with the Russian Geographical Society's Crystal Compass award for the media work highlighting this expedition. The expedition was conducted in collaboration with the Russian Arctic National Park.

About Pristine Seas

The ocean—covering over 70 percent of the planet—sustains all life on Earth. It supplies more than half the oxygen we breathe and regulates the Earth’s climate. Its fisheries provide employment for 180 million people and food for billions worldwide, and it offers opportunities for recreation, education, and tourism.

National Geographic and Explorer-in-Residence Dr. Enric Sala launched the Pristine Seas project to find, survey, and help protect the last wild places in the ocean.

With your support, we have helped to protect more than

3 million square kilometers of ocean territory.

Completed Expeditions
Protected Areas
Ongoing Projects

Map by National Geographic Society. Sources: Pristine Seas, MPAtlas

What You Can Do

Join the cause. Donate, sign up to receive expedition updates from the field, and share our work with others.


Order the Pristine Seas Book

The last of the pristine seas offer a fascinating glimpse into our past and an inspiring vision for the future. In Pristine Seas: Journeys to the Ocean’s Last Wild Places, National Geographic Explorer-in-Residence Enric Sala takes readers on a dazzling journey to ten of these astounding locations, showing what we have to gain by protecting our seas.