The 3 foundations to success in supporting ocean solutions

Our most pressing and complex ocean-based challenges demand solutions powered by investments in workforce, innovations in technology and advancements in data capture.

Our ocean is Earth’s most valuable asset — it carries the bulk of global trade, refines half of the oxygen we breathe and is a source of protein to billions. As human activity continues to change our ocean, change-makers are bringing promising solutions that sustain marine biodiversity, protect coastal communities from rising seas and leverage the ocean to capture atmospheric carbon.

The success of these solutions depends on our ability to accelerate investment in three foundational areas: (1) building the future ocean economy workforce; (2) innovation and advancement of marine technology; (3) deploying that technology to capture data that informs solutions.

Ocean solutions require talented people

For traditional ocean commerce sectors (eg. shipping, fishing, energy), workforce growth over the past half century has kept pace with sector expansion. However, today, a rapid expansion of the ocean information economy (eg. climate and weather forecasting, ocean observing) requires alternative credentialing and certification programs and inclusive recruitment mechanisms to grow the ocean workforce.

Investing in marine technology

Advances in marine technology has led to fleets of autonomous vehicles that can explore anywhere in the ocean, renewable energy systems that can sustainably power our economy and biotechnologies that bolster seafood supply and produce novel medicines.

Strengthening research and development in these technologies — and aligning their use in transformative new business models — is essential to ensure the economic viability and sustainability of ocean solutions.

Data to inform decisions

Despite covering more than 70% of our planet, the amount of ocean data collected each day is a fraction of what we generate on land and in our atmosphere. To understand the potential value of ocean-based climate, pollution and resource solutions, we must understand how the ocean functions to deliver maximum impact at minimal risk.

Our ocean is at a critical juncture. The collective impacts of our way of life continue to mount, at a time when our livelihoods depend on the ocean more than at any time in human history. As with all great solutions in our past, the answers to the ocean challenges facing us today can be met with wise investment in a talented workforce, innovative technologies and data to inform decision-making.

*Featured in Media Planet's "New Scientist" World Ocean Day special issue

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