November 13, 2019

Newly updated Our Shared Seas website provides critical summary of ocean health

The past five years have been the warmest on record in the global ocean. Image: CEA Consulting.

The Our Shared Seas project provides an important reminder that our Earth is fundamentally a blue planet. The ocean covers 71 percent of the Earth’s surface, provides over three billion people with a critical source of protein, and plays a critical role in our climate system. The newly released third edition of the Our Shared Seas website is a helpful source of ocean-conservation-related data—the state of fisheries, trends in aquaculture production, indicators of the Earth’s changing climate, impacts on the marine environment from plastics and other forms of pollution, and the level of funding for ocean conservation.

The third edition pulls from a broad set of reports, databases, and websites and aims to roll up all relevant ocean conservation data in a centralized, easy-to-use platform, providing authoritative data and insights into ocean trends. The purpose of this site is to aggregate ocean statistics and trends to support the marine conservation community—including funders, advocates, practitioners, and policymakers—in making better, faster, and more informed decisions.

In 2017, the David and Lucile Packard Foundation commissioned CEA Consulting to prepare Our Shared Seas: A 2017 Overview of Ocean Threats and Conservation Funding as a primer on the primary ocean threats, trends, and solutions. The third edition continues to provide anyone who is interested in learning more about our blue planet with an opportunity to download and share any of the materials, provided that the appropriate references are cited.

With the goal of helping funders, advocates, policymakers, journalists, educators, and engaged global citizens understand the state of ocean conservation and help shape future directions for philanthropy, practice, and research, Our Shared Seas is an open-access resource accessible to all.

The third edition includes:

  • expert interviews,
  • data visualizations for download,
  • links to seminal ocean reports and CEA research products, and
  • a calendar of global ocean events.

In addition, the updated site has incorporated new features including:

  • An interview with Jane Lubchenco, former NOAA administrator, on the ocean-climate nexus, and what makes her hopeful about the future health of the ocean;
  • An interview with Jean-Pierre Gattuso, lead and contributing author of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s “Special Report on the Ocean and Cryosphere in a Changing Climate”;
  • A research digest which quantifies the potential of ocean-based mitigation measures to help close the emission gap; and
  • A curated library of key ocean reports and research for download, on topics relating to climate change, marine fisheries, aquaculture, marine-protected areas, and pollution (including plastics).

Our Shared Seas website

By Heidi Cullen

For additional information or images relating to this article, please contact: Kim Fulton-Bennett
831-775-1835, kfb@mbari.org