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International Programs

Protecting the Marine Environment

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The world’s coastal waters and oceans are deteriorating due to increasing coastal development, pollution from ships, and habitat destruction. Most pronounced in near-coastal and estuarine regions, the degradation of coastal and oceanic waters is significant and both developed and developing countries contribute to the problem.

EPA is working to reduce marine degradation in different ways. Globally, EPA works with the International Maritime Organization to develop and implement legal standards that address vessel source pollution and ocean dumping. EPA has also focused on reducing land-based sources of marine pollution in the Gulf of Mexico and the wider Caribbean region through implementation of the Land-Based Sources Protocol. This protocol was concluded in 1999 through the Regional Seas Programme of the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP). Additionally, EPA will pursue the application of efficient watershed management and wastewater treatment practices worldwide, as well as low-impact development. Other areas of emphasis include invasive species, ocean dumping, the protection of coral reefs, and the monitoring of harmful algal blooms.

Land-Based Sources (LBS) Protocol Enters into Force

October 2010: The Land-Based Sources (LBS) Protocol entered into force. The LBS Protocol provides the framework for addressing pollution based on national and regional needs and priorities, focusing on addressing sources of pollution and the development of best management practices to prevent, reduce and control pollution in the Wider Caribbean Region.

EPA continues to play a leadership role for the U.S. government in projects under the UNEP Caribbean Environment Programme. Learn more

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Featured EPA International Result


Global Ban on Tributyltin - The EPA spearheaded an international agreement on the use of tributyltin (TBT) on ships that has decreased the global use of chemical anti-foulants.


Eighty percent of the world's merchant fleet has since converted to tin-free hull coatings, dramatically reducing the toxic load to marine life.


Learn more about Marine Pollution:


For additional information on EPA's marine programs, contact:

Patrick Cotter
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
Office of International and Tribal Affairs (2660R)
1200 Pennsylvania Ave., NW
Washington, DC 20460
E-mail: cotter.patrick@epa.gov
(202) 564-6600

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