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Maritime Forum

Map of the Week – World Ocean Day – Deepening our Understanding of the Ocean

This map shows the bathymetry, the average depth of the water column, in the European region with a resolution of 1/16 - arc minute (~ 115 metre), as well as the topography of the land or terrestrial areas.

This map shows the bathymetry, the average depth of the water column, in the European region with a resolution of 1/16 - arc minute (~ 115 metre), as well as the topography of the land or terrestrial areas.

Every year, on 8 June, the United Nations (UN) celebrates World Ocean Day (WOD). On this 7 June, join the United Nations and Oceanic Global for WOD2024, themed ‘Awaken New Depths’. This event brings together decision-makers, indigenous leaders, scientists, private sector executives, civil society, celebrities, and youth activists to forge humanity’s relationship with the ocean, and awaken new depths of understanding, compassion, and collaboration to safeguard the ocean and all it sustains.

The ocean produces at least 50% of the planet's oxygen, hosts most of Earth's biodiversity, and fundamentally supplies food to the planet's population. [1] Additionally, it supports the global economy, with ocean-based industries projected to employ 40 million people by 2030. [1] Despite these benefits, the ocean is in dire need of support. The future of the blue planet depends on urgent efforts and a deepening relationship with the ocean.

Although the ocean covers approximately 70% of Earth's surface, humanity has only scratched the surface of understanding it. The ocean's surface area is about 360 million sq. km, with an average depth of 3,682 m. [2] It is the largest livable space on the planet, nurturing more life than anywhere else on Earth! Life thrives throughout these depths, including in the ocean’s deepest trenches [3], known as the hadal zone, deepest of which is the Mariana Trench, reaching about 10,994 m deep [4], far surpassing the height of Mount Everest! However, as pointed out by the Ocean Literacy Principle #7, to date, less than 20% of the ocean has been explored! Despite its vastness, only 24.9% of the ocean floor has been mapped as of 2023 [5], and just 10% of ocean life has been discovered [6].

Speaking of depth, did you know there is a map layer on mean underwater depth in the European Atlas of the Seas? Explore the Map of this week, which shows the bathymetry (the average depth of the water column) in the European region, as well as the topography of the land or terrestrial areas. The bathymetric map was derived from individual bathymetric surveys and composite Digital Terrain Data/Models (cDTM). Zooming in and clicking on any location (where data is visualised on the map) reveals the depth of the ocean at that spot.

Everyone can contribute to a healthier ocean and a more sustainable future. Let’s celebrate the UN World Oceans Day by deepening our understanding and commitments to protect the blue planet! Here are a few examples of what you can do!

  • Tune in virtually on 7 June 2024, for the live broadcasted event from 10 AM to 1:30 PM EDT (4 PM to 7:30 PM CET);
  • Explore the UN WOD Events Calendar to find global events celebrating the WOD;
  • Read about the Seabed 2030 project, whose mission is to deliver a complete map of the ocean by 2030 for the benefit of people and the planet. This initiative shall provide information vital for achieving the societal outcomes outlined by the UN Decade of Ocean Science for Sustainable Development (2021-2030) (Ocean Decade), and the UN’s Sustainable Development Goal SDG 14: ‘to conserve and sustainably use the ocean, seas and marine resources for sustainable.’
  • There is incredible diversity and mystery that still lies beneath the waves, waiting to be discovered. Get updates from Ocean Census and Challenger 150, two dedicated science networks focused on deep-sea biological research. They aim to accelerate discovery of marine organisms and expand deep-sea ecosystem observations in global ocean basins, contributing to the global efforts in ocean conservation.
  • Discover the newly released UNESCO State of the Ocean Report 2024, which provides insights on ocean-related scientific activities and analyses describing the current and future state of the ocean, with an ambition to inform policymakers about the state of the ocean and to stimulate research and policy actions towards ‘the ocean we need for the future we want’.
  • The Digital Ocean Forum (DOF) 2024 is happening on 13 June 2024 in Brussels. The forum will demonstrate the capabilities of the European Digital Twin of the Ocean (EU DTO) as a Commission public service to drive applications and solutions for ocean resource management, addressing ocean and climate change and promoting a green transition and sustainable operations for the Blue Economy. A comprehensive digital ocean ecosystem is crucial in supporting the planning and implementation of ocean-related policies. Keep abreast of the latest developments of the EU DTO, powered by the European Marine Observation and Data Network (EMODnet) and Copernicus Marine Service via EDITO!
  • On 7-8 June 2024, the first Ocean Literacy World Conference will be hosted in Venice (Italy), organised by UNESCO. This event will spotlight SEA BEYOND, the educational programme launched by Prada Group in collaboration with UNESCO to promote sustainability and ocean preservation. The outcomes of this two-day event will be compiled into the 'Venice Declaration for Ocean Literacy', containing actionable recommendations to be shared with all UN Member States. Follow the live streamed conference virtually on 7-8 June!
  • Have some fun while learning how to use geographical coordinates to find any specific location on a map and gain knowledge about economic activities related to the ocean, seas and coasts! Play the Atlas Blue Economy Challenge game and while exploring the  European Maritime Day in My Country 2024 map layer, you may discover and participate in ‘EMD in my Country’ events happening around you!

Wishing to learn more and to discover great ocean Literacy projects? Last week, on 31 May 2024, the EU4Ocean Coalition, supported by the European Commission held its annual #MakeEUBlue Awards at the European Maritime Day in Svendborg (Denmark). Celebrating progress in ocean literacy, these awards highlight initiatives fostering awareness about the importance of the ocean and promoting sustainable practices. The three main winners, chosen as Navy Blue, Classic Blue, and Sky Blue for first, second and third place respectively, are:

1. Sunset Docks– Navy Blue Award
2. Life CONCEPTU MARIS – Classic Blue Award
3. BlueNightS– Sky Blue

In addition to these awards, there were four "special mentions" awards:

Did you miss the award ceremony?  Watch the European Maritime Day recordings from 31 May at (Award Ceremony starting at 7:49:27) and have a look at the websites of the winning projects!

Happy World Ocean Day!


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The data in this map are provided by EMODnet.