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.
1. The ocean produces the oxygen you breathe
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
– Marine plants produce around 70% of the Earth’s oxygen
2. The ocean helps reduce the effects of climate change
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
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
This deep ocean carbon storage further limits the impacts of climate change.
3. The ocean provides food for billions of people
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.
4. Healthy oceans provide tourism income for worldwide communities
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.
5. The ocean improves your health
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