2019 Update

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Dive in and explore the latest statistics and trends on the global ocean.

We encourage marine conservation funders, advocates, policymakers, journalists, and engaged global citizens to use this open-access data portal as a source for learning and advancing informed decision-making for the benefit of our blue planet. Solutions are at hand. Please visit the Actionable Insights page to learn more and take action.

This site aggregates ocean data and analysis for the following topics, which can be accessed below or through the Menu tab at right.

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The past five years have been the warmest years in the ocean on record.

The ocean absorbs roughly 90% of the warming caused by human carbon emissions. The past five years (2014 to 2018) have ranked as the five warmest years for ocean heat content, confirming a trend that ocean warming has been accelerating since the 1990s. New research suggests that the ocean is absorbing excess heat 40% faster than previously estimated.

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Ocean Uptake of CO2

Source: Cheng L. et al, 2019

Dive in and explore the latest statistics and trends on the global ocean.
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The past five years have been the warmest years in the ocean on record.
40% faster than predicted
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Global CO2 emissions have risen steadily in recent decades.

As of early 2019, CO2 emissions had reached 410 parts per million (ppm). A recent IPCC report warned of the impacts of surpassing 1.5°C of warming. At current rates of warming, the world is projected to reach the 1.5°C threshold between 2030 and 2052.

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Carbon dioxide (direct measurement)

Note: The satellite data is averaged per year. Source: NASA, 2019

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Annual production from capture fisheries has remained largely stable or slightly declining for the past 20 years.

Wild capture landings in 2016 followed the same trend as previous years. After peaking in 1996, the trendline for landings has been stable or declining, depending on methodology. Data from FAO indicate that catch was 93 million tons in 2016; catch reconstruction methodologies suggest that landings are about 30 percent higher.

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Global wild capture landings

Source: FAO, 2018

Global CO2 emissions have risen steadily in recent decades.
410 parts per million
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Annual production from capture fisheries has remained largely stable or slightly declining for the past 20 years.
93 Mt
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Illegal, unregulated, and unreported (IUU) catch may account for as much as 25% of wild capture landings.

A recent global study suggests that IUU fishing represented 32 million tons of landings in 2015; this level has been stable in recent years. Estimating the scale of IUU fishing is notoriously difficult and leads to wide confidence intervals, even as advancements in technology and satellite tracking have provided greater transparency recently.

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IUU as a portion of total wild capture landings

Source: Watson, Reg A., and A. Tidd, 2018

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Aquaculture production has grown steadily.

As wild capture landings have plateaued since the mid-1990s, aquaculture has driven continued growth in global seafood production. Aquaculture accounted for 47 percent of total landings in 2016, an increase from 26 percent in 2000.

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Global aquaculture production (1976–2016)

Source: FAO, 2018

Illegal, unregulated, and unreported (IUU) catch may account for as much as 25% of wild capture landings.
IUU: 32mt
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Aquaculture production has grown steadily.
47% of landings
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Less than 5 percent of the world's ocean is protected in implemented Marine Protected Areas.

As of early 2019, 4.8 percent of the world’s ocean was protected in implemented MPAs. Implementing proposed or officially announced MPAs would increase the overall level of protection to 7.4 percent. While projections suggest that the world will fall short of achieving Aichi Target 11 of 10 percent ocean protection by 2020, many scientists empahsize that this target is intended as a progress milestone, rather than an endpoint for ocean protection.

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Scenarios of MPA progress toward global targets

Source: Adapted from MPAtlas, 2018.

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Roughly half of all plastic ever produced was made in the last 15 years.

Global plastic production has increased nearly 200-fold, from 2 million tonnes in 1950 to 381 million tonnes in 2015. Plastic production has grown at a compound annual growth rate of 8.4%, roughly 2.5 times the rate of global GDP during 1950-2015.

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Global plastics production (1950–2015)

Source: Geyer et al, 2017

Less than 5 percent of the world's ocean is protected in implemented Marine Protected Areas.
10% ocean protection by 2020
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Roughly half of all plastic ever produced was made in the last 15 years.
381 million tonnes
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Foundations and development aid contributed approximately USD 1.3 billion to marine conservation in 2016.

Philanthropic and development aid grantmaking for marine conservation have been roughly comparable in size in recent years.

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Total ocean-related grants from philanthropic and ODA sources, 2015–2016

Source: Analysis by California Environmental Associates, 2018.

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The philanthropic and development aid sectors have targeted different geographies and issue areas for marine conservation.

Philanthropy has invested heavily in North America and cross-cutting science and global initiatives; these priorities made up 80 percent of ocean-related grantmaking in 2015 and 2016. Development aid has directed its marine grantmaking primarily toward Africa and parts of Asia, with an emphasis on poverty alleviation.

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Geographic distribution of marine-related grantmaking, 2015–2016

Source: Analysis by California Environmental Associates, 2018.

Foundations and development aid contributed approximately USD 1.3 billion to marine conservation in 2016.
$1.3 billion USD
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The philanthropic and development aid sectors have targeted different geographies and issue areas for marine conservation.
Respective sectoral priorities
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