As divers, we love the ocean and do everything in our power to protect it. Whether it’s refusing single-use plastics, supporting eco-friendly diving operations, or supporting sustainable dive product brands, nothing is too much trouble when it comes to protecting our oceans. The ocean is our playground and it goes without saying that its value is limitless. Some people need a helping hand to understand the importance of protecting the oceans. Here are 5 good reasons we can share. Read on, get 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 terrestrial oxygen:
– Tropical forests produce about 28% of the earth’s oxygen
– Marine plants produce about 70% of the terrestrial oxygen
2. The ocean helps reduce the effects of climate change.
In addition to producing oxygen, the world’s ocean territory is a huge carbon sink, which means it removes carbon from the atmosphere and stores it permanently, which helps reduce the impacts of climate change.
How does the ocean do this? With the help of the relationship between phytoplankton and large whales.
When whales defecate, they release many nutrients into the water, which allows phytoplankton to grow, much like fertilizing land plants.
When phytoplankton blooms, it continuously absorbs and removes carbon dioxide from the atmosphere.
In the South Sea alone, the approximately 12,000 whales found there continuously remove 200,000 tonnes of carbon from the atmosphere.
Whales also remove carbon from the atmosphere when they die. Their carcasses contain a large amount of carbon, which sinks into the ocean floor and feeds many species.
This carbon storage in the deep oceans further limits the impacts of climate change.
3. The ocean provides food for billions of people.
About 3 billion people around the world depend on wild-caught and farmed seafood as their primary source of protein.
Seafood is especially important for remote coastal communities that lack access to other sources of protein.
By protecting the ocean from issues like plastic pollution, climate change and unsustainable commercial fishing, we support communities that depend on the ocean’s wealth.
4. Healthy oceans generate tourism income for communities around the world.
There’s nothing like diving into crystal-clear waters, surrounded by epic marine life and vibrant corals that reaffirm how magical the ocean is.
The ocean does not only provide us with beautiful dive sites. These same dive sites provide tourism income and jobs to communities around the world.
Take the example of diving in Indonesia. 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.
Additionally, tourism to coral reefs is estimated to be worth $36 billion annually and around 30% of the reefs represent a valuable source for tourism.
As the global ocean temperature continues to rise, this could have huge consequences for the global maritime tourism industry.
5. The ocean improves your health.
Scientific studies have shown that being on, in or near water reduces your stress levels and improves your physical and mental well-being. These two elements allow us to be more productive, creative, innovative and, above all, happy.