> Uses

Uses of the Oceans

This Worldview of the UN Atlas of the Oceans contains information on the uses of the oceans - for food, shipping, mining, energy, and coastal habitation. The focus is on information relevant to sustainable development of the oceans.

Photo credit: Images courtesy of FAO and NOAA

The oceans have long been used as a platform for shipping and communications. They also provide living resources for food (fisheries and aquaculture) as well as for pharmaceutical, biotechnology and genetic products. Non-living resources from the oceans include petroleum and minerals extending from coastal to deep water; with renewable energy from wind and tides of increasing interest. The Atlas recognizes traditional uses of the oceans and their resources by indigenous owners. There is more emphasis placed now on non-consumptive uses such as recreation, as well as conservation of marine biological diversity through ecotourism.

The Uses Worldview recognizes that with use comes impact and includes topics on the disposal of waste from land as well as from ships. It also covers human settlements on the coast; their use of the oceans and their impact on it through habitat destruction.

The Issues Worldview of the Atlas deals in more detail with the impact of uses on the oceans and seas.

Throughout, the emphasis is on the sustainable use of resources, with management based on the best available science, described more fully in the About Worldview. Understanding leads to wise use of resources.