As divers we already love the ocean and do what we can to protect it. Whether that’s saying no to single use plastics, supporting environmentally friendly dive operations or supporting sustainable dive merchandise brands. The ocean is our playground and it goes without saying that its value is limitless. Some people need a helping hand to understand why healthy oceans matter. Here are 5 awesome reasons you can share. Read on, be inspired by this blue planet, and check out our infographic for 50 more fascinating facts about the ocean.
The ocean produces oxygen from plants such as tiny phytoplankton, kelp and other marine plants, with phytoplankton producing most of the Earth’s oxygen:- Rainforests produce approximately 28% of the Earth’s oxygen
As well as producing oxygen, the global ocean is a huge carbon sink; meaning it removes carbon from the atmosphere and permanently stores it away, which helps reduce the impacts of climate change.
How does the ocean do this? With the help of the relationship between phytoplankton and the great whales.
When whales defecate, they release plumes of nutrients into the water which allows phytoplankton to grow – much like fertilising land plants.
As phytoplankton blooms, it absorbs and permanently removes carbon dioxide from the atmosphere.
In the Southern Ocean alone, the 12,000 or so sperm whales found there permanently remove 200 000 tonnes of carbon from the atmosphere each year.
Whales also remove carbon from the atmosphere when they die. Their carcasses contain a large amount of carbon, which sinks to the ocean floor and provides food for numerous species.
This deep ocean carbon storage further limits the impacts of climate change.
Approximately 3 billion people in the world rely on wild-caught and farmed seafood as their main source of protein.
Seafood is especially important for remote coastal communities who do not have access to other protein sources.
By protecting the ocean from issues such as plastic pollution, climate change and unsustainable commercial fishing, we’re supporting those communities that are reliant upon the ocean’s bounty.
There is nothing quite like diving in crystal-clear waters, surrounded by epic marine life and vibrant corals that reaffirm how magical the ocean truly is.
The ocean doesn’t just provide beautiful dive sites for us to enjoy though. Those same dive sites provide tourism income and employment for communities around the world.
Take Indonesia diving as an example. Indonesia has a thriving coral reef tourism industry and also has the second largest manta ray tourism industry in the world, with an annual value of over $15 million.
Added to that, coral reef tourism is thought to have a global value of US$36 billion per year and around 30 percent of the world’s reefs are valuable to tourism.
As the global ocean temperature continues to rise this could have massive impacts on the global marine tourism industry.
Blue mind science has shown that being on, in or near water reduces your stress levels, improving your physical and mental wellness. Both of which allow us to be more productive, creative, innovative and – most importantly – happy. Read Blue Mind by Wallace J Nichols to find out more.
This article was written by Kathryn Curzon, a shark conservationist and dive travel writer. Follow her adventures at www.kathryncurzon.com