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Maritime Forum

Did You Know That... Exciting facts about the ocean!

Our Blue Planet is a marvellous place; a source of life, home to incredible wildlife and complex ecosystems.


Our Blue Planet is a marvellous place: a source of life, home to incredible wildlife and complex ecosystems.

So much of what is magical about the ocean is hidden under the surface of the water. In fact, we know more about than surface of the moon than the deep sea. We have a lot to learn.

The more we know about the Ocean, the better we can act to ensure its wellbeing.

So let’s dive in with a few facts that may surprise you!


Climate and Ocean facts

  • Did you know that for each ton of CO2 you emit, Arctic sea ice sheet cover shrinks three square meters?
  • Did you know that if all the world’s ice melted, sea levels would rise by almost 70m? That is as high as the Statue of Liberty!
  • Did you know that the Ocean's capacity to store heat is much greater than that of land or the atmosphere? It has already absorbed about 90% of the excess heat due to human activities!
  • Did you know that the planet's biggest waterfall Denmark Strait Cataract is in the Ocean right between Greenland and Iceland?
  • Did you know that since 1993, average global sea levels have risen by 3.3mm per year?
  • Did you know that 1.6 - 3.9 million people in Europe will be affected by coastal flooding by the end of the century if we don't adapt our coasts?
  • Did you know that nature can efficiently contribute to coastal flood protection, while also increasing CO2 storage and restoring biodiversity? For example, mangroves, tidal marshes and seagrass sequester and store carbon at more than twice the rate of tropical forests !
  • Did you know that 70% of all global wave and tidal energy is generated in EU waters?
  • Did you know that the ocean region between 200 and 1000 metres deep (the mesopelagic or "twilight" zone) could contain a total fish biomass roughly equivalent to 100 times the annual catch of all existing fisheries?
  • Little is known about mesopelagic ecosystems and there is currently no governance framework in place, making the growing commercial interest is its species problematic.
  • Did you know that when whales die and sink to the ocean floor, they transfer the enormous amount of carbon stored in their bodies from surface waters to the deep sea, where it can remain for centuries?
  • Did you know that using cutting-edge marine technology to collect data from the ocean allows for a better understanding of climate change and enables more sustainable management of marine resources?
  • Did you know that the Mediterranean region is a "climate change hotspot" where vulnerabilities are exacerbated?
  • Did you know that the sea level in the Mediterranean could rise by more than 90 cm by 2100?
  • Did you know that sea level rise in the Mediterranean region impacts coastal infrastructures including cultural heritage, and causes loss of agricultural land due to water and soil salinization?
  • Did you know that an invisible climate boundary between the cold waters in the Antarctic region and the warmer waters in the rest of the ocean prevents an exchange of marine life across this border and has made the Antarctic region unique? This invisible border is called the Antarctic Convergence!
  • Did you know that temperatures in the Southern Ocean range from −2 to 10°C? Typical depths in the Ocean range between 4,000 and 5,000 metres, but reach 7,236 metres at the deepest point!

Food from the Ocean facts

  • Did you know that a protein found in jellyfish has advanced cancer research?
  • Did you know that fish accounts for almost 17% of the global population’s intake of protein? (2012)
  • Did you know that on average, EU citizens consume around 24 kg of seafood per year?
  • Did you know that 20% of the fish in Europe comes from aquaculture?
  • Did you know that it is possible to cultivate "rice of the sea"? The grains come from eelgrass, a type of seagrass!
  • Did you know that up to 20% of fish is caught illegally?
  • Did you know that it is estimated that 800 whales, dolphins or porpoises die accidentally in fishing nets as bycatch each day? This is why the EU has made the reduction of bycatch one of its priorities for sustainable fisheries, promoting catch monitoring, fishing gear and practices that minimise bycatch.
  • Did you know that half of Australia’s 322 shark and ray species are not found anywhere else in the world?
  • Did you know that the jellyfish Rhizostoma luteum has the highest antioxidant activity ever measured in a jellyfish? This means it could be used for nutraceutical and biomedical applications!
  • Did you know that the charismatic yet dangerous invasive lionfish (Pterois miles) entered in the Mediterranean Sea via the Suez Canal? It's a good thing it's delicious and nutritious!
  • Did you know that 78% of assessed fish stocks in the Mediterranean Sea are overexploited?
  • Did you know that a full grown blue whale can eat four to eight tons of krill every day during the feeding season in Antarctica? This daily intake would feed a human for at least four years!

Healthy and Clean Ocean facts

  • Did you know that cigarette butts are one of the most common litter items found during beach cleans?
  • Did you know that eutrophication (the excessive concentration of nutrients leading to algal growth on the water's surface) is the top pressure on the Baltic Sea, affecting 97% of its waters and leading to economic losses of up to 4.4 billion euro annually across the region?
  • Did you know that 70% of all litter items found on beaches around the Baltic Sea are plastic?
  • Did you know that at least 50% and possibly up to 80% of all the oxygen on Earth is produced in the Ocean?
  • Did you know that coral produces its own "sunscreen"?
  • Did you know that polar expeditions often take fresh water from the ice, as it is perfectly drinkable?
  • Did you know that fish in the northern Pacific Ocean swallow collectively between 12,000 and 24,000 tons of plastic every year?
  • Did you know that the Ocean is 30% more acid compared to 250 years ago?
  • Did you know that 80% of marine plastic waste comes from land?
  • Did you know that the European Union wants to establish protected areas covering at least 30% of European seas by 2030?
  • Did you know that since 1960 the oxygen content in the Ocean has declined by 2%?
  • Did you know that we have lost 30% of the "lungs" of the Mediterranean Sea, the Posidonia oceanica seagrass meadows, in the last 50 years?
  • Did you know that Posidonia oceanica meadows improve water quality, absorb CO2 and protect the coast? They also provide nursery and refuge areas for many species, helping to support fisheries production!
  • Did you know that most of the litter in the Black Sea is brought there by the largest rivers flowing into it?
  • Did you know that marine living organisms store more than half of the biological carbon captured globally?
  • Did you know that ghost gear (lost and abandoned fishing equipment) makes up 10% of the overall plastic waste in our ocean, but represents a much higher proportion of the large plastics found floating at the surface?
  • In some specific ocean areas, fishing gear makes up the vast majority of plastic rubbish, including over 85% of the rubbish on the seafloor. on seamounts and ocean ridges, and in the Great Pacific Gyre.
  • Associated rubbish from fisheries, such as packing containers, tape and buoys also contribute to ocean plastic pollution.
  • Did you know that pharmaceuticals from human healthcare are reaching the ocean and are impacting these environments?
  • Did you know that around 160,000 tonnes of plastic pellets are "lost" by industry each year in the EU? Globally, more than 250,000 tonnes of plastic pellets end up in aquatic environments each year, for example through tyre wear or washing of clothing.
  • Did you know that plastics account for 80-85% of marine litter in the EU, with single-use plastics representing 50%?
  • Did you know that up to 12.7 million tonnes of plastic enter the ocean each year?
  • Did you know that our Ocean contains as much as 51 billion particles of microplastics, 500 times more than the number of stars in our galaxy?
  • Did you know that only 40% of European surface waters (rivers, lakes and transitional and coastal waters) are in good ecological status?
  • Did you know that the COVID-19 test was derived from a microbe found in a deep-sea hydrothermal vent?
  • Did you know that the Mediterranean Sea is one of the world’s busiest shipping lanes and hosts 17% of the world’s oil tanker capacity?
  • Did you that the Mediterranean Sea hosts up to 18% of the world's marine biodiversity, even though it covers less than 1% of the world's ocean surface?
  • Did you know that in the Mediterranean Sea, 50% of the marine litter on the seabed is plastic?
  • Did you know that 2/3 of Mediterranean countries exceed the global WHO recommended threshold for air pollution from particulate matter and ozone?
  • Did you know that macroalgae have the potential to be used as alternative packaging material, helping to reduce plastic waste?
  • Did you know that over 500,000 species are on track to become extinct unless their habitats are restored?
  • Did you know that in Europe, only 40% of the plastic packaging put in the recycling bin actually gets recycled?
  • Did you know that only 7.65% of the world's ocean is protected from human activities?
  • MPAs are marine protected areas, protected by regional, national or international authorities. MPAs are created to support the long-term conservation of areas by restricting the impact of human activities (e.g. restricted fishing, oil and gas extraction and/or tourism).
  • Did you know that 16% of the Baltic Sea is currently designated as a marine protected area?
  • Did you know that 173 non-indigenous species and species with unknown origin have been discovered in the Baltic Sea, most likely introduced via ship biofouling or ballast water?
  • Increased global trade and ever shorter travel times make the potential of introductions of non-indigenous species (NIS) increase, therefore measures to combat this issue are crucial. Monitoring NIS is important since they might disrupt ecosystems by e.g. outcompeting the local species or introducing new diseases. They can also cause economic damage to man-made structures.

Other ocean facts..

  • Did you know that EU coastal areas produce ~40% of the EU's GDP?
  • Did you know that barnacles hitchhike on whales?
  • Did you know that there are more than 3300 islands in the Mediterranean Sea?
  • Did you know that an estimated 91% of marine species are still to be discovered?
  • Did you know that 70-80% of global trade is transported by sea?
  • Did you know that the Mariana Trench, at 11km deep, situated in the Pacific Ocean close to the Philippines, is the deepest place on Earth?
  • Did you know that more than 48 million Europeans regularly take part in water-based recreational activities?
  • Did you know that the Black Sea was a freshwater lake around 7,000 years ago? The rise of water levels in the Mediterranean Sea caused saltwater to enter the lake!
  • Did you know that messages in bottles were already used by the Ancient Greeks (310 B.C.) to study ocean currents?
  • Did you know that the Pacific Ocean was named in 1520 by Portuguese navigator Ferdinand Magellan when his fleet entered an unfamiliar calm ocean after passing through what are now known as the Straits of Magellan from the Atlantic Ocean?
  • Did you know that Greenland sharks can live over 250 years?
  • Did you know that the architecture and chemistry of coral is very similar to human bone? This has meant that coral has been used for human bone grafting, helping it to heal quickly and cleanly!
  • Did you know that the ocean regulates the climate of our planet; is home to 90% of the world's biodiversity; absorbs 1/3 of CO2 and the majority of solar radiation; transports 80% of global trade; gives work to 200 million people; and is the most important place of leisure for the world's population?
  • Did you know that the Southern Ocean is the ‘newest’ named ocean?
  • Did you know that the Mediterranean is the world’s leading tourism destination, with more than 300 million international tourists visiting?
  • Did you know that around 40% of the world’s population lives within 100 km of the coast?
  • Did you know that coral reefs shelter close to a third of the known marine species and provide a direct source of livelihood for more than 500 million people worldwide through fishing?
  • Did you know that about 97% of the water on Earth is in the Ocean?