World Oceans Day aims to raise awareness of the importance of our oceans, how we depend on them and how to ensure they are protected. The day was originally recognised by the United Nations in December 2008 after the concept was first proposed at Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro in 1992.

The UN Division of Ocean Affairs and the Law of the Sea helps raise awareness of the living and non-living resources that the ocean provides us with and how it can play a role in international law for sustainable development.

Here are some facts and figures about our oceans from the UN website:
• Oceans cover three quarters of the Earth’s surface, contain 97 per cent of the Earth’s water, and represent 99 per cent of the living space on the planet by volume.
• Over three billion people depend on marine and coastal biodiversity for their livelihoods.
• Globally, the market value of marine and coastal resources and industries is estimated at $3 trillion per year or about 5 per cent of global GDP.
• Oceans contain nearly 200,000 identified species, but actual numbers may lie in the millions.
• Oceans absorb about 30 per cent of carbon dioxide produced by humans, buffering the impacts of global warming.
• Oceans serve as the world’s largest source of protein, with more than 2.6 billion people depending on the oceans as their primary source of protein.
• Marine fisheries directly or indirectly employ over 200 million people.
• Subsidies for fishing are contributing to the rapid depletion of many fish species and are preventing efforts to save and restore global fisheries and related jobs, causing ocean fisheries to generate US$ 50 billion less per year than they could.
• As much as 40 per cent of the world oceans are heavily affected by human activities, including pollution, depleted fisheries, and loss of coastal habitats.

For more information, visit the United Nations websites above or the website listed below: