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Introduction to ocean literacy

New Zealand’s marine zone is 15x the size of its land mass, so it is important to know the principles of the ocean and the economies that rely on it.

Life on a blue planet

Humans live on a blue planet, with oceans and seas covering more than 70 per cent of the Earth’s surface. Oceans provide food, regulate earth’s climate, and generate most of the oxygen needed for life. They also serve as the foundation for much of the world’s economy, supporting sectors from tourism to fisheries to international shipping. It is the responsibility of all people to use this vital resource sustainably.

As New Zealand is an island nation, the health of the ocean, land and people are all linked together. New Zealand’s ocean is about 15 times the size of its land mass (covering approximately 1.7 million square kilometres). It is one of the largest marine territories in the world. New Zealanders utilise it for trade, fun, fishing and food gathering, and the beauty and cleanliness of New Zealand’s marine environment brings people from all over the world to visit.

New Zealand’s ocean has vast potential to create new economic opportunities for New Zealanders over the coming decades. The drivers include:

  • new technologies that make it feasible and economically viable to harness previously unattainable ocean resources
  • longer-term growth and demographic trends fueling the search for food security and alternative sources of minerals
  • and the expansion of seaborne trade, industrial and municipal growth along our coasts.

Ocean Literacy

This week you will get familiar with the principles of ocean literacy, learn about the Sustainable Development Goals and Ocean Decade, and discover what the blue economy is. In the next step you will expand your understanding of the ocean’s influence on you, and your influence on the ocean.


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Blue Tomorrow: Understanding the Blue Economy

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FutureLearn - Learning For Life

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