The ocean is one of Earth's most valuable natural resources. It provides food in the form of fish and shellfish—about 200 billion pounds are caught each year. It's used for transportation—both travel and shipping. It provides a treasured source of recreation for humans. It is mined for minerals (salt, sand, gravel, and some manganese, copper, nickel, iron, and cobalt can be found in the deep sea) and drilled for crude oil.
Oil Rig off Santa Barbara. © Wolcott Henry 2001
The ocean plays a critical role in removing carbon from the atmosphere and providing oxygen. It regulates Earth's climate. The ocean is an increasingly important source of biomedical organisms with enormous potential for fighting disease. These are just a few examples of the importance of the ocean to life on land. Explore them in greater detail to understand why we must keep the ocean healthy for future generations.
The oceans have been fished for thousands of years and are an integral part of human society. Fish have been important to the world economy for all of these years, starting with the Viking trade of cod and then continuing with fisheries like those found in Lofoten, Europe, Italy, Portugal, Spain and India. Fisheries of today provide about 16% of the total world's protein with higher percentages occurring in developing nations. Fisheries are still enormously important to the economy and wellbeing of communities.
Fish Market in the Philippines. © Wolcott Henry 2001
The word “shipping” refers to the activity of moving cargo with ships in between seaports. Wind-powered ships exist, but more often ships are powered by steam turbine plants or diesel...