Our campaigns make a Difference

To date our campaigns have been instrumental in the protection of 3.5 million km² of ocean. We work to create new fully protected Marine Protected Areas (MPAs), and increase the level of protection in existing MPAs.

The Ross Sea Swim ushers in the largest protected area in history

In 2015 Lewis's swim in Antarctica's Ross Sea helped secure Russian support for the largest Marine Protected Area in history. The 1.5 million square km Ross Sea MPA is a much-needed sanctuary for everything from mighty whales down to the tiny plankton they depend on.

The Long Swim gears 30x30

In 2018 Lewis Pugh became the first person to swim the 330-mile length of the English Channel. During the swim we called on the UK Government to increase protection in its waters. In the month following The Long Swim, the UK became the first major economy to commit to 30X30.

Red Sea Swim protects precious coral

Coral reefs support 25% of all ocean life and are the most biologically diverse ecosystem on Earth. They are also among the most threatened. In the months following Lewis's world-first swim across the Red Sea in 2022, Egypt committed to protecting 2000kms of its astonishing Great Fringing Reef.


Thirty percent of the world's Oceans protected by 2030. That was our ask when Lewis Pugh swam the length of the English Channel in July 2018.

At the time, the  United Nations' marine conservation target was just 10% by 2020 – though conservation scientists clamoured for more.

At the end of The Long Swim, the United Kingdom become the first major economy to call for 30% of oceans to be protected by 2030. It marked the beginning of a worldwide campaign to ensure that other nations follow suit. (Check out the current status on our 30x30 page.)

In December 2022, at the COP15 Biodiveristy Conference, nations pledged to protect 30% of the planet's land and ocean. And in 2023, members finally agreed on a High Seas Treaty to protect 30% of International waters. Now we need to endure that this agreement is ratified and enforced.


The Antarctica 2020 campaign was launched in December 2016, following the successful establishment of the Ross Sea MPA. Many more MPAs are urgently needed in Antarctica and across the world. The Antarctica 2020 Campaign brings together a coalition of voices to push for a further 3 large MPAs in Antarctica. Together with the Ross Sea MPA, these protected areas will span nearly 7 million square kilometres – twice the size of Western Europe.

Headline swims under the Antarctica 2020 campaign include the Ross Sea Swim in 2015, the Antarctic Peninsula Swim in 2016, the Grytviken swim in 2017 (to call for increased protection of South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands) and the East Antarctica Ice Sheet Swim in 2020.

Warming Seas

When Lewis Pugh became the first person to swim across the North Pole in 2007, he not only pushed the boundaries of human endurance, he demonstrated the effects of climate crisis in the most visceral way. It should not have been possible to swim over the North Pole – the sea should have been frozen over, but it wasn't.

Ten years later Lewis returned to his training ground in Svalbard, to prepare for the Arctic Sea Ice swim. When he'd trained at Longyearbyen in 2005, the water had been 3°C; a decade on it was 10°C.

In 2021 Lewis swam across Greenland's Ilulissat Icefjord, fed by the world’s fastest moving glacier, in the lead up to the COP26 Climate Summit.

In 2022 Lewis swam across the Red Sea to highlight the perilous state of the world's corals due to warming seas.

Plastic Pollution

Plastic is part of our modern world – but single-use plastics shouldn't be part of our environment. Our natural world should not have to absorb our plastic waste.

Governments. businesses and individuals need to work together to come up with a plastic pollution solution, from source to sea.

Rivers are an integral part of this process, as all rivers ultimately feed into our oceans.

LPF participated in the world's biggest beach clean up at Versova Beach, and negotiated the halt to an annual mass balloon release in Gibraltar.

As withg all our campaigns, we use compelling storytelling to ensure that our plastic message gets out into the world.

All Campaigns


Hudson Swim 2023

In August 2023, Lewis Pugh swam 315 miles (507 km) down the Hudson River, from its source to its end at the Atlantic Ocean. He did this to highlight the critical role rivers play in a habitable planet, emphasising the interconnectedness of rivers and oceans, and stressing the urgent need to protect and respect them.

“If we want healthy oceans we also need healthy rivers — it’s that simple.”

Red Sea 2022

In October 2022, Lewis competed the frist swim across the Red Sea, from Saudi Arabia to Hurghada, Egypt. Along the way he passed Sharm el-Sheikh, where world leaders would gather for COP27 in November.

The 123 km swim took 16 days to complete.

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Greenland Swim 2021

On September 7, Lewis became the first person to complete a multi-day swim in the Polar Regions when he swam across the Ilulissat Icefjord, fed by the world’s fastest moving glacier,  in Greenland.

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East Antarctica 2020

In 2020 Lewis completed the world's first swim under the Antarctic Ice sheet, to highlight surface melting that is more widespread than previously thought.

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The Long Swim 2018

The Long Swim marked the beginning of a worldwide campaign to ensure that 30% of our oceans are fully protected by 2030.

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Arctic Sea Ice 2017

Ten years after his pioneering swim across the North Pole, Lewis Pugh returned to the Arctic to see for himself how the area had weathered a decade of global warming. What he found was alarming.

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South Georgia 2017

Imagine a million square kilometres of unrivalled ocean splendour. South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands (SGSSI) are easily the most important wildlife haven under British jurisdiction – yet when we undertook this swim in November 2017, only 2% of the waters around these biodiversity hotspots were fully protected.

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Arctic Peninsula 2016

Coming right after our success in declaring the Ross Sea MPA, media attention was high for this swim, which officially launched our Antarctica 2020 campaign. We chose Half Moon Island in the Bellingshausen Sea, at 62°S.

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Ross Sea 2015

For five years, CCAMLR (Convention for the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources), the body that oversees the protection of Antarctic waters, struggled to create a Marine Protected Area in the fragile Ross Sea. After completing the world's southernmost swim in the Ross Sea, Lewis Pugh made numerous visits to Moscow, walking alone into the Kremlin to call on Russia to support the creation of the MPA. Eventually, they agreed.

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North Pole 2007

In 2007 Lewis Pugh attempted the impossible: to swim across the North Pole without any protection other than a pair of speedo swimming trunks. This swim pushed the boundaries of what was thought to be humanly possible by subjecting a body to a long-distance swim in below-freezing (minus 1.7°C) water.

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Versova Beach Mumbai

Afroz Shah is proof that one inspiring person can make a world of difference. In 2016 Afroz invited Lewis to join the volunteers gathering in Mumbai every weekend, each of them donating hours of their time to participate what has become the world's biggest beach clean up.

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Saving the African Penguin

Unless we take immediate action, the African penguin is likely to be functionally extinct on South Africa’s  west coast in less than 15 years. Depleted fish reserves, toxic oil spills, and damage to their nesting grounds that leave them vulnerable to climate change, have combined to bring African penguins to the brink.

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Gibraltar Balloons

In 2016 we helped negotiate the halt to an annual mass balloon release in Gibraltar that had been practiced for 24 years. What goes up must come down, and the tens of thousands of balloons released into the air would eventually come to earth or land at sea, with obvious implications for the the environment.

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