Picture: Swimming with whales. Credit: Elianne Dipp (Pexels).

The ocean is threatened by climate change, overfishing and pollution. There is an urgent and escalating global need for an improved understanding of the ocean and for sustainable management of the marine environment.

Ocean literacy is both the understanding of the ocean, and an indication of connections to and attitudes towards the ocean. Building ocean literacy in communities can encourage responsible public behaviour towards the ocean and ocean resources. As such, improving global ocean literacy has the potential to catalyse the behaviour changes necessary for achieving a sustainable future.

As part of the Future Seas project, this paper summarizes knowledge and perspectives on ocean literacy from a range of disciplines, including but not exclusive to marine biology, socio-ecology, philosophy, technology, psychology, oceanography and human health. We look at the potential for positive change for a sustainable future based on the knowledge that already exists. A product of this paper is an Ocean Literacy Toolkit, which is a practical resource for enhancing ocean connections across many audiences and formats worldwide.

  • Paper: Kelly, R., Evans, K., Alexander, K. et al. Connecting to the oceans: supporting ocean literacy and public engagement. Rev Fish Biol Fisheries (2021). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11160-020-09625-9