This focus area will shape new and emerging research frontiers to produce the best possible science for a more sustainable and equitable future for the ocean
The ocean is essential for human well-being. It shapes the Earth’s climate, provides a key source of food and livelihoods, and enables a growing range of economic activities.
An unprecedented expansion of human activity in the ocean has caused the connections between ocean health and people to become increasingly complex, diverse and dynamic.
Whole new ocean industries have emerged in recent decades, “blue food” has taken on central importance at the nexus of nutrition, health and planetary boundaries, and stark equity and inclusivity challenges have grown increasingly pronounced. All, while ocean systems are being reshaped by a changing climate.
While embracing a diversity of research interests, this theme is placing particular emphasis around three focal research areas that together contribute towards a more equitable and sustainable future:
- Ocean equity – work within this focal area will focus on understanding the dimensions and drivers of ocean inequity and identify pathways to fairer distribution of ocean benefits.
- Ocean risk – risk exists across all levels of the Human Ocean, from ecosystems to local communities and transnational corporations. Work in this area will focus on understanding, quantifying and addressing risk across local to global scales and social and ecological dimensions.
- Ocean futures – the ocean and humanity’s relationship with it are rapidly changing, growing more complex and dynamic over time. Work within this focal area will aim to use the full range of tools available to model, predict and imagine the future of the Human Ocean.
At the core of the theme is a commitment to understand, and seek constructive engagement with, the full range of actors and stakeholders shaping the ocean, ranging from local communities and NGOs to international policymakers and the private sector.
Research news | 2023-05-03
Time to put ocean sand on the global sustainability agenda
Sand is a key foundation of society, yet on the ocean sustainability front, it remains a blind spot, says new report
Research news | 2023-03-08
Growing “plastic smog” of 170 trillion particles afloat in the ocean
More than 170 trillion microplastic particles are floating in the World’s oceans, new study finds
Research news | 2023-03-06
Historic high seas treaty a win for planet and people
The new UN treaty on biodiversity in marine areas beyond national jurisdiction is a major step for ocean sustainability, according to centre researchers
Research news | 2023-01-19
Time for an "IPCC for the ocean"
Leading ocean experts propose a new International Panel for Ocean Sustainability (IPOS) to build consensus and inform policy
Research news | 2022-12-16
Lack of understanding of ocean risks can worsen inequities
Ocean-related risks are not well understood in the region which might be hardest hit by them, Sub-Saharan Africa, concludes new review
Research news | 2022-10-31
An ocean of ideas
New study reveals a forgotten element of the blue economy: designs and innovations inspired by marine life and the deep sea
Strong and weak sustainability in Nordic aquaculture policies
Journal / article | 2022
In this paper, we critically analyze how sustainability is considered in aquaculture policies and strategies using the Nordic countries as a case. The strong versus weak sustainability concepts are used to define and clarify what sustainability aspects are central to each state. To illustrate these concepts further, we draw on and modify four mainstream environmental discourses defined by John Dryzek and apply them to the stro...
Untangling social–ecological interactions: A methods portfolio approach to tackling contemporary sustainability challenges in fisheries
Journal / article | 2022
Meeting the objectives of sustainable fisheries management requires attention to the complex interactions between humans, institutions and ecosystems that give rise to fishery outcomes. Traditional approaches to studying fisheries often do not fully capture, nor focus on these complex interactions between people and ecosystems. Despite advances in the scope and scale of interactions encompassed by more holistic methods, for ex...
Avoiding catastrophic collapse in small-scale fisheries through inefficient cooperation: evidence from a framed field experiment
Journal / article | 2022
Small-scale fisheries (SSFs) are significant for poverty alleviation, but are threatened by over-exploitation and climate change effects such as drastic drops in regrowth rates. How will fishers adapt? To shed light on this, we ran a common-pool resource experiment with SSF fishers in Thailand. Our results show that groups confronted with a potential abrupt drop in the regrowth rate are more likely to form cooperative agreemen...
Operationalizing the Nature Futures Framework in the High Seas
Report | 2022
The perceived remoteness and vastness of the ocean has inadvertently created a psychological and cultural barrier between people and the global ocean, particularly in areas beyond national jurisdiction (ABNJ); which accounts for >64% of the ocean and >45% of our planetary surface. After decades of commercial fisheries exploitation by a small number of nations this once untouched part of our planet and its biodiversity and ecos...