Final Ocean Decade Laboratory “A Productive Ocean” sets goals for challenges ahead

From 31 May to 2 June the seventh and final Ocean Decade Laboratory tackled the challenges of “A Productive Ocean”.

The ocean is one of the earth’s main sources of food and oxygen and the Laboratory acted as a reminder that sustainability is essential to lasting productivity.

The Ocean Decade Laboratory “A Productive Ocean” was conducted with scientists and researchers, as well as industry representatives. Strong interest from the non-academic sector is no surprise, which co-host and co-chair Anna Jöborn from the Swedish Foundation for Strategic Environmental Research underlined by quoting from an OECD study that expects expects this “blue economy” to double in size by 2030.

The ocean is a great but fragile source of life and livelihood. This has been a unifying thought throughout all seven laboratories and extensive research and dedicated action is needed to ensure that it remains healthy. As Jens Brandenburg, Parliamentary State Secretary at the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research put it, “Science must create the basis for knowledge-based political and social action”.

Thirteen Satellite Activities were held in the roughly 48 hours between the initial Core Event on 31 May and the Wrap-up on 2 June, focusing on the productive aspects of the ocean. Topics included “Marketplace of the Productive Ocean,” “Productivity Needs Sustainability,” “Air-Sea Observations for Offshore Wind Energy,” and “Indigenous-led Ocean Science Collaborations”. Participants joined from 59 countries, a large number of these in Asia, the origin of 90 percent of the world’s aquaculture production.

The UN Ocean Decade will continue until 2030. Its goal is to bring scientists and stakeholders from all over the world together to ensure a sustainable future for the ocean. In the seven Ocean Decade Laboratories realised between July 2021 and June 2022 hundreds of such scientists and stakeholders have connected and thousands of people have joined as viewers or participants. Wrapping up the seventh Ocean Decade Laboratory, one of the Ocean Decade initiators, Vladimir Ryabinin, Executive Secretary of the Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission (IOC) of UNESCO, compared the challenges for those involved to a long-distance endurance race: “This has been a one-year marathon and we will have ten of them,” he said. “The beauty of a marathon is that when you finish one you are exhausted, but with each marathon you will gain more and more energy. And we realize [when finishing] that it is possible to achieve what we have dreamed about.”

Ocean Laboratory “A Productive Ocean” (Video)

If you missed the Ocean Laboratory “A Productive Ocean,” you can watch the Core Event and the Wrap-up in their entirety online. A summary of the Core Event of the Laboratory is available here.