It is sometimes easy to forget that the Earth is fundamentally a blue planet. The ocean covers 71% of the Earth’s surface area, provides 3.2 billion people with a critical source of protein, and serves as a source of livelihoods, cultural heritage, and recreation.

To date, aspects of ocean data—the state of fisheries, trends in aquaculture production, indicators of the Earth’s changing climate, impacts on the marine environment from plastics and other forms of pollution, and the level of funding for ocean conservation—have been featured in a diffuse set of reports, databases, and websites.

While it is often said that the world is awash in data, informed decision-making can occur only when data are transparent and readily available to the stakeholders that need the information. This project seeks to roll up relevant ocean conservation data in a centralized, easy-to-use platform, providing authoritative data and sensemaking of ocean trends.

The purpose of this site is to aggregate ocean statistics and trends to support the marine conservation community—including funders, advocates, practitioners, and policymakers—in making better, faster, and more informed decisions. In 2017, the David and Lucile Packard Foundation commissioned CEA Consulting (CEA) to prepare Our Shared Seas: A 2017 Overview of Ocean Threats and Conservation Funding as a primer on the primary ocean threats, trends, and solutions. As a second edition of the original narrative report, this website is intended to provide updated figures and share key data points in a format that is easy to digest and use for external purposes.

Visitors to the site are welcome to download both individual charts and PowerPoint decks for external use, provided that corresponding references are cited.


CEA prepared this project based on published data and literature, as well as other academic, government, and industry reports. For most of the materials presented on this site, CEA synthesized available materials in the form of data visualizations and light analysis. The exception is the Funding chapter, for which CEA conducted original analysis of recent trends in philanthropic, NGO, and development aid funding. For the Marine Protected Areas chapter, CEA collaborated with the Marine Conservation Institute to produce original maps featured on this site.

Specific methodology for individual project components can be found here:

Project history

The first edition of this project was released as a narrative report, which was launched at The Ocean Conference, hosted by the United Nations in June 2017. The materials from that report can be found here.

Project funding

This project was prepared by CEA Consulting and made possible through the support of the Packard Foundation. It is our hope that this project will help elevate the collective understanding of the state of ocean conservation and shape future directions for philanthropy, practice, and research.

Suggested citation

Please use the following citation when referencing this project as a body of work: CEA Consulting. 2019. “Our Shared Seas: Global ocean data and trends for informed action and decision-making.”
Individual citations have been included as chapter endnotes and footnotes in the slide deck for underlying sources.

Contact us

This analysis was prepared by CEA Consulting, which takes accountability for any errors or omissions in this data portal. CEA welcomes constructive feedback from readers by email. You can also follow us via Twitter at @OurSharedSeas for periodic updates.

Photo credits

  • Yellow fish crates: Flickr/Claire Backhouse
  • Glaciers and icebergs: virythtpehjljd89 – stock.adobe.com
  • Sharks: cbpix – stock.adobe.com
  • Cargo vessel: a_medvedkov – stock.adobe.com
  • School of fish over a reef: Nejat Semerci – stock.adobe.com
  • Plastic marine pollution: aryfahmed – stock.adobe.com
  • Fish farm with floating cages: wabeno – stock.adobe.com

Video credits

  • Cargo vessel: a_medvedkov – stock.adobe.com
  • Coral reef and fish: danr13 – stock.adobe.com
  • Fishermen casting nets: ismotionprem – stock.adobe.com
  • Sea turtle: drekss/Pond5 – stock.adobe.com
  • Fish farms in Malta: makastock – stock.adobe.com