2015 Commitments

More than 500 participants, including 11 ministers, from over 50 countries, as well as representatives of NGOs, academia, research and charitable institutions, and industry met in Valparaiso, Chile, for the second Our Ocean Conference October 5-6, 2015. Participants announced over 80 new initiatives on marine conservation and protection valued at more than US$2.1 billion, as well as new commitments on the protection of more than 1.9 million square kilometers of the ocean. 

PDF of the 2015 Commitments

Protecting Ocean Areas

  • Chile announced the creation of the Nazca-Desventuradas Marine Park, a 297,000 square kilometer area covering much of the exclusive economic zone of the islands of San Ambrosio and San Felix and contributing greatly to the conservation of this area’s rich marine biodiversity.
  • Chile announced that it is committing to create a marine protected area in the 720,000 square kilometer exclusive economic zone of the iconic Island of Rapa Nui – known around the world as Easter Island – working with the Rapa Nui community and taking into consideration their ancestral fishing and in compliance with current norms established by Convention No. 169 of the International Labor Organization. Once complete, this will be one of the largest marine protected areas in the world.
  • The United States announced it is moving to protect waters of historic and national importance by initiating the creation of the first new National Marine Sanctuaries since 2001, one in the State of Maryland and the other in the Great Lakes. These areas will highlight and protect some of the United States’ most important maritime heritage.
  • Panama announced the recent creation of two major marine protected areas, Cordillera de Coiba (17,223 square kilometers) and Banco Volcan (14,931 square kilometers), increasing Panama’s protected areas from 3.7 to 13.5 percent of its waters. This initiative was based on scientific expertise and research of the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute and includes areas with submarine mountain chains. Panama will allocate at least US$1 million in 2016 for management of these two marine protected areas.
  • Panama announced that it will invest approximately US$1.3 million in 2016 and 2017 on “Turismo Verde” (Green Tourism) for marine protected areas in Coiba National Park and Isla Bastimentos National Marine Park to support conservation of biodiversity through the development of lowimpact ecotourism.
  • New Zealand reaffirmed its intent to create a 620,000 square kilometer ocean sanctuary in the Kermadec region, covering 15 percent of New Zealand’s exclusive economic zone. The Kermadec Ocean Sanctuary will be one of the world’s largest and most significant fully protected areas, preserving important habitat for seabirds, whales, dolphins, endangered marine turtles, and thousands of species of fish and other marine life.
  • Gabon reaffirmed its commitment to create over 46,000 square kilometers of marine protected areas in 2016 that will include 23 percent of its exclusive economic zone.
  • Cuba and the United States announced that negotiations are underway on a new sister marine protected area arrangement between sites in Cuba (Guanahacabibes National Park and the Bank of San Antonio) and the United States (Florida Keys and Flower Garden Banks National Marine Sanctuaries), and possibly others, focusing on scientific research, education and outreach, and sound management.
  • The European Commissioner for Maritime Affairs, Fisheries and Environment announced that ten percent of all European Union marine waters will be covered by marine protected areas by 2020. To achieve this, the European Union's Member States will designate significant additional marine protected areas, as well as promote their effective management through necessary fisheries measures.
  • The European Commissioner for Maritime Affairs, Fisheries and Environment announced that European Union Member States will adopt innovative maritime spatial plans for all European Union marine waters by 2021. Based on the ecosystem approach, these plans will ensure conservation and sustainable use of European Union marine waters, taking into account land-sea interactions and relying on processes like integrated coastal zone management.
  • The European Commissioner for Maritime Affairs, Fisheries and Environment announced the European Union’s plan for all of its maritime waters to achieve “Good Environmental Status” by 2020, ensuring healthy seas and oceans for future generations and guaranteeing their role in the production of food and other resources.
  • Costa Rica announced that it will develop a National Policy on Wetlands, in a period of one year, with the goal of addressing threats to its wetlands and associated resources.
  • Oceans 5 – an international funders’ collaborative dedicated to improving ocean health and vitality – announced that it will provide about $8 million in 2016 to support projects in the Pacific, Atlantic, Indian, and Arctic Oceans to establish marine reserves and end overfishing.
  • Rare announced that the municipality of Cantilan in The Philippines became one of the first communities to approve TURF+Reserve designs to recover small-scale fisheries. As part of the Fish Forever partnership announced at last year’s conference, TURF+Reserve pairs managed access areas with no-take zones, working in partnership with the national government, municipal officials, village leaders, fishers, and the community.

Promoting Sustainable Fisheries

  • In 2014, the United States announced its commitment to establish an integrated seafood traceability program as part of a broader, coordinated effort to tackle illegal, unreported, and unregulated (IUU) fishing and seafood fraud. The traceability program will track seafood from harvest or production to entry into U.S. commerce and ensure that seafood sold in the United States is legally harvested. The United States will announce in October 2015 the specific list of marine species considered to be most at risk of being caught illegally or mislabeled, which will be the basis of the first phase of the program to be fully launched by September 2016.
  • The United States announced the launch of Sea Scout, a new global initiative that seeks to unite governments and other stakeholders worldwide in the fight against IUU fishing by focusing global assets and partnerships on identifying, interdicting, and prosecuting IUU fishing organizations and networks around the world. Sea Scout will strengthen at-sea fisheries enforcement through integration of existing and emerging technologies, expanded use of internet-based tools, enhanced coordination and information sharing, and capacity building. Sea Scout will improve the efficiency and effectiveness of at-sea enforcement through the identification of regional “hot spots” – where IUU fishing is known to be most severe or to pose the most significant threat – to ensure that at-sea enforcement assets are directed and deployed in the most efficient manner. Support for Sea Scout was announced by the Governments of Chile, Norway, New Zealand, and Palau; the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO); the International Monitoring, Control and Surveillance (MCS) Network; Pew Charitable Trusts; World Wildlife Fund US; Oceana; and the International Seafood Sustainability Foundation.
  • As part of Sea Scout, Gabon announced that the United States, Gabon, and others are exploring a partnership to enhance surveillance of illegal fishing. This would be a way to harness the expertise of the public and private sectors to advance state of the art tools to automatically detect IUU fishing activities in marine parks and other ocean areas in Gabon and elsewhere using various sources of data, for example from satellites, radars, and vessels.
  • Chile fulfilled the commitment it made at the 2014 Our Ocean conference to join the United Nations Fish Stocks Agreement by signing its instrument of ratification.
  • Chile fulfilled the commitment it made at the 2014 Our Ocean conference to implement a new policy to fight IUU fishing by signing the Presidential Decree that mandates its implementation.
  • Chile announced the creation of a new Ocean Policy Council to address the challenges facing its ocean waters and marine resources, to ensure their sustainability and security and help guarantee the right of its citizens to live in an environment free of pollution while preserving nature and protecting the marine environment.
  • With recent ratifications by Mozambique, Iceland, and Australia, there are now 13 parties to the Port State Measures Agreement, a groundbreaking treaty to prevent illegally harvested fish from entering the stream of commerce. Twenty-five parties are needed for the Agreement to enter into force. Seven additional countries are close to joining – Saint Kitts and Nevis, Mauritius, United States, Costa Rica, Indonesia, Palau, and the Republic of Korea.
  • Chile announced the creation of a new group called Friends of the Port State Measures Agreement to promote the Agreement’s entry into force by bringing countries from Latin America and the Caribbean that have ratified the Agreement together with countries that have not yet joined in order to provide assistance and support, with the Global Ocean Commission acting as its Secretariat.
  • SONAPESCA, Chile’s National Fishing Association, announced on behalf of Chile’s industrial fishing sector a new Declaration on Responsible Fishing, which commits to working in seven development areas to promote responsible fishing based on specific, published international commitments and standards.
  • SONAPESCA and the Marine Stewardship Council announced the start of a certification process of all industrial fisheries under the Transferable Fishing Licenses system – 12 fisheries that process mackerel, anchovy, common sardine, hake, crustaceans, and other types of fish.
  • The United States announced the creation of the Caribbean Oceans and Assets Sustainability Facility (COAST) – a new insurance product for the fisheries sector in the Caribbean to reduce the risk that climate change poses to the fishing industry and related food security in the region. Under this program, countries can buy insurance to help protect their fisheries sector, and hence their food security, from severe weather. The United States has committed $5 million for this initiative. Jamaica announced its intention to purchase the COAST insurance product. The Nature Conservancy announced a commitment of $2 million of aligned funding to support COAST. The World Bank announced that they are partnering with the Caribbean Catastrophe Risk Insurance Facility SPC to develop the details of the COAST insurance product.
  • New Zealand announced that it will allocate NZ$50 million (US$32 million) to support the Pacific region to improve the sustainable management of Pacific fisheries and deliver on its Roadmap for Sustainable Pacific Fisheries.
  • Costa Rica announced that it will develop a National Plan for the Use of the Ocean, in a period of no more than two years, with the goal of coordinating all the institutional, social, and economic players in one common strategy for the conservation and sustainable use of its marine and coastal resources.
  • Costa Rica announced that it will host the Second Meeting of the Signatories of the Memorandum of Understanding on the Conservation of Migratory Sharks in San Jose February 2016.
  • Norway announced its intent to allocate US$1.8 million in support of the UN Food and Agriculture Organization’s project, "Enhancing the contribution of small-scale fisheries to food security and sustainable livelihoods," and signed an agreement securing the partnership with FAO.
  • Norway announced the launch of its new Fish for Development program, which aims to include fish and marine resources in its future development assistance.
  • Norway announced that construction is underway to build a completely new research vessel, Dr Fridtjof Nansen, to be used exclusively in developing countries as part of the EAF Nansen Project, an FAO fisheries management program. The new vessel will be equipped with state-of-the art technology to conduct research on fisheries, marine ecosystems, biodiversity, acidification, and impacts of climate change.
  • Iceland announced a commitment for additional financial contribution to the United Nations University Fisheries Training Program, focusing on Small Island Developing States.
  • Grenada announced that as part of its partnership with the Government of the Netherlands, both countries are teaming up with the World Bank and others to host a Global Blue Growth Investment and Partnership Conference in Grenada in April 2016.
  • Tone announced that mFish will be extended by the end of 2015 to connect 20,000 fishers in 13 Indonesian communities, and will be further expanded in 2016 to 100,000 fishers in 200 Indonesian communities. mFish is a public-private partnership launched at the 2014 Our Ocean conference by the United States, in collaboration with Tone and GSM Association, to provide mobile devices to small-scale fishers in developing nations with apps designed to access market and weather information and more easily report catches to fisheries managers.
  • The United States announced that the second annual Fishackathon, held in twelve cities around the world in 2015, resulted in more than 40 apps to help fishers and that the third Fishackathon will be held on Earth Day weekend from April 22-24, 2016. Fishackathon is a public-private partnership that aims to capitalize on the expansion of mobile technology use across the developing world to address sustainable fishery challenges. The annual Fishackathon event calls on coders from all around the world to come together to create new applications and tools for use on mobile phones and other devices to help fishers work smarter and more safely in sustainable fishing.
  • The United States announced the launch of the Oceans and Fisheries Partnership (USAID Oceans), a five-year, $20 million initiative by the U.S. Agency for International Development to promote sustainable marine fisheries and combat illegal, unreported, and unregulated fishing and seafood fraud in the Asia-Pacific region. USAID Oceans will strengthen regional sustainable fisheries management and will assist in the development of an electronic catch documentation and traceability system.
  • WWF announced a 10-year, $2.5 million public-private partnership among Chile’s National Fisheries Service, Salmon Chile, and WWF to develop a scientific monitoring and capacity-building program to increase protection and conservation of blue whales in Chilean Patagonia. The program also focuses on reducing water pollution and identifying key marine areas for blue whales based on their migratory routes, movement patterns, and population type and structure using state-of-the-art satellite technology and transmitters.
  • The United States announced that it will further develop and make available an application to assist in detecting ocean-going vessels using the Visible Infrared Imaging Radiometer Suite (VIIRS), a space-based sensor. VIIRS is capable of detecting lights, including from boats that use lights to attract fishery catch at night, in order to target potentially illegal activities for further inspection by other assets. In 2016, the detection system and alert services will be implemented in Indonesia, The Philippines, and 3 other countries.
  • The five States that surround the high seas area of the central Arctic Ocean – Canada, the Kingdom of Denmark in respect of Greenland, the Kingdom of Norway, the Russian Federation, and the United States – recently signed a declaration to prevent unregulated commercial fishing in the central Arctic Ocean. The United States announced that it will host a meeting of the five States and other interested governments this December in Washington to work toward a binding agreement consistent with the Declaration.
  • Building on and reaffirming previous commitments not to provide subsidies that contribute to overcapacity and overfishing, the United States and New Zealand announced a commitment not to provide subsidies to vessels, enterprises, or operators engaged in IUU fishing and invited other governments to do the same.
  • The European Commissioner for Maritime Affairs, Fisheries and Environment announced that the European Union is ready to commit EUR 675 million covering the period 2016-2020 to enter into Sustainable Fisheries Partnership Agreements with coastal States. These Agreements will assist countries in the development of sustainable fisheries, the effective management of monitoring and control systems, and the fight against IUU fishing.
  • The European Commissioner for Maritime Affairs, Fisheries and Environment announced a major political initiative on Ocean Governance, which will set out concrete ideas on how the international governance of oceans could be strengthened in order to ensure a sustainable use of ocean resources.
  • The European Commissioner for Maritime Affairs, Fisheries and Environment announced a proposal that would require all European Union vessels over 15 meters fishing outside European Union waters to have an IMO number by 2016. Making this unique vessel identifier mandatory will enhance traceability of vessels, thus enhancing efforts to combat IUU fishing.
  • The European Commissioner for Maritime Affairs, Fisheries and Environment announced that the European Union will release a proposal to better and more sustainably manage its external fishing fleet by the end of 2015. The proposal will allow the European Union to better monitor and control its fleet and efficiently address the problems of reflagging and chartering, thus enhancing efforts to combat IUU fishing.
  • The European Commissioner for Maritime Affairs, Fisheries and Environment announced the European Union’s intention to host an international conference on the fight against IUU fishing.
  • Gabon announced its intent to sign a comprehensive sustainable fisheries decree by the end of 2015 that will include measures to completely eradicate IUU fishing from its waters and protect sharks and billfish.
  • Gabon announced its commitment to apply Turtle Excluder Devices to its entire industrial fishing fleet and put in place a national plan to regulate the use of Fish Aggregate Devices in 2016.
  • Bloomberg Philanthropies and its partners, The Rockefeller Foundation and Encourage Capital, announced that they are releasing the first of their new innovative Blueprints for how investments in sustainable fisheries can be structured to provide a model for fisheries globally. Bloomberg Philanthropies will work to ensure the Blueprints and other tools are disseminated widely so that they can serve as a model for governments, NGOs, investors and others to create their own plans to transform fisheries. Similarly, Bloomberg Philanthropies commits to undertaking a robust evaluation of its $54 million pilot strategies in Chile, Brazil, and The Philippines in order to implement effective fisheries management in additional key geographies around the globe through its Vibrant Oceans initiative.
  • Rare announced that USAID Philippines and Rare, with partners Bloomberg Philanthropies, Pinoy Micro-Enterprise Foundation, and Encourage Capital, established a Global Development Alliance to advance economic incentives for conserving biodiversity and sustainably managing local fisheries through managed access. An award of $2.39 million from USAID will leverage over $6 million in private sector funds, for a total investment of over $8.4 million. Over a period of two years, the Alliance will identify best practices and pilot these approaches in key coastal communities, which will help thousands of fishers increase economic benefits derived from sustainable management of at least 300,000 hectares of key marine biodiversity areas. This work will complement the investment Blueprints for sustainable fisheries developed by Bloomberg Philanthropies, The Rockefeller Foundation, and Encourage Capital.
  • The Marisla Foundation announced that it will commit $1.5 million to build and launch Global Fishing Watch, a project by Oceana, Google, and Skytruth to make information on the fishing activities of tens of thousands of the world’s largest commercial fishing vessels available to everyone in the world for free, on the internet. Global Fishing Watch will help governments, NGOs, academics, responsible seafood purchasers, certifiers, and honest fishermen assure that the ocean is honestly, fairly, and sustainably fished. 

Reducing Marine PollutiON

  • The United States announced that it is supporting the development of waste-to-energy demonstration projects in the APEC nations of The Philippines and Indonesia, including in the cities of Dagupan, Angeles, and Bandung, by Waste2Worth, a company dedicated to extracting value from trash as a means to stimulate economic development.
  • The G-7 leaders, acknowledging that marine litter – in particular plastic litter – poses a global challenge and stressing the need to address land- and sea-based sources, removal actions, as well as education, research and outreach, committed to priority actions and solutions to combat marine litter, including by incorporating waste management activities into international development assistance and supporting pilot projects.
  • The United States and China announced a partnership between the coastal cities of Xiamen and Weihai in China and San Francisco and New York in the United States to share best practices related to waste management to reduce the flow of trash into the ocean.
  • The Association of Plastic Industries of Chile, ASIPLA, announced its commitment to strengthen and increase the capacity of the “Recycling of Plastics for Rapa Nui” program on Easter Island. This program has already identified the types of plastic on the island, set up a system to transport it to recycling points, and raised awareness of the local community about plastic recycling and proper disposal. The second stage will focus on understanding and identifying plastic debris that arrives on Easter Island’s coast and collecting it with the municipality’s support for transportation to and recycling on the mainland in order to decrease plastic marine debris and generate income and jobs for the islanders.
  • Costa Rica announced that it will develop in the next two years a National Policy to combat marine debris.
  • Panama announced its intent to expand in 2016 the Blue Flag Ecological Program, which currently works with 500 schools across the country, to include 12 more communities, two of which are located in the Caribbean territory of the Guna Yala indigenous people. Panama will also develop a new pilot program, as part of the Biocommunity Project, to train communities of extreme poverty in solid waste management.
  • Panama announced that its "Panama City and Panama Bay Clean-Up” project will restore the health of the Pacific coast of Panama, including through the construction of an estimated US$1.275 million water treatment system. In addition, Panama will allocate approximately US$2.5 million to develop and implement a management plan for the Panama Bay Wetlands protected area.
  • The European Commissioner for Maritime Affairs, Fisheries and Environment announced that the European Union will release an ambitious strategy by the end of 2015 to achieve a circular economy, including a new legislative proposal on waste targets to address also the issue of marine litter from upstream sources.
  • The European Commissioner for Maritime Affairs, Fisheries and Environment announced that the European Union will adopt a major quantitative reduction headline target for marine litter. Achievement of this target will be facilitated by the adoption of marine strategies under the European Union Marine Strategy Framework Directive.
  • The European Commissioner for Maritime Affairs, Fisheries and Environment announced that the European Union will cut by one half the number of single-use plastic bags in the EU by 2019, helping to address the large accumulation of plastic bag litter in the ocean.
  • The United States and the UNEP Caribbean Environment Programme announced the launch of a new partnership involving countries in the Wider Caribbean Region to implement Trash Free Waters, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s collaborative approach to significantly reducing marine litter. In collaboration with the United States Peace Corps and its volunteers on the ground, this partnership will support local actions to reduce land-based sources of trash in local communities and help national governments take action to prevent trash from reaching their waters. Jamaica and Panama will pilot the "Trash Free Waters" approach in 2016 to demonstrate its benefits to public health and the environment while keeping significant amounts of litter from reaching the Caribbean Sea.
  • The United States announced a commitment by its National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration of over $1.5 million in 2016 to work with partners to remove marine debris from sensitive ecosystems in the United States and to develop innovative projects that change behavior to minimize the amounts and impacts of marine debris. NOAA also commits to developing a national strategy to combat marine debris, working with partners to implement local solutions around the United States.
  • Ocean Conservancy, along with partners in the Trash Free Seas Alliance®, committed to raise up to $2.5 million for a major initiative to coordinate the efforts of industry, governments, multi-laterals, and private investors in pioneer regions in Asia Pacific. With efforts to develop integrated waste management plans in two cities serving as on-the ground learning labs, the ultimate goal will be to work with APEC economies to identify the legal, institutional, operational and financial conditions which will allow private investors to build a fully ocean-smart, integrated waste management system in these regions. 

Preventing and Monitoring Ocean AcidificatioN

  • The United States announced that it is working to create a new and innovative public-private partnership involving several foundations that would provide resources to enhance the ability of African coastal States to monitor and better understand ocean acidification in the Indian Ocean. The United States intends to contribute resources to support the training of African scientists to monitor ocean acidification. Several foundations would provide contributions that will help African scientists acquire the ocean acidification monitoring technologies they need.
  • New Zealand announced that it is funding a NZ$1.8 million (US$1.2 million) four-year project led by the Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Programme, in partnership with the Secretariat of the Pacific Community and the University of the South Pacific, to help build the resilience of Pacific islands countries and territories to the impacts of ocean acidification.
  • Panama announced that in 2016 it will calculate the estimated carbon sink capability of its mangrove ecosystems as part of a comprehensive effort to strengthen national capacities for the conservation of mangroves, with a focus on adaptation and mitigation. Panama will also incorporate ocean acidification data generated by the Marine Global Earth Observatories of the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute (SIMarineGEO) into its Environmental Information System.
  • The United States announced that it will allocate another $370,000 through the International Atomic Energy Agency’s Peaceful Uses Initiative to the Ocean Acidification International Coordination Center (OA-ICC) located at the Environment Laboratories in Monaco. The OA-ICC works to communicate, promote, and facilitate science, capacity building, and communication related to ocean acidification. 

Building Capacity

  • Fiji announced that it has proposed to host the first Triennial Oceans and Seas Global Conference in partnership with Sweden in 2017. The Triennial Oceans and Seas Global Conferences will mobilize partnerships and action towards implementation of the Sustainable Development Goal 14 for oceans.
  • The Global Environment Facility (GEF) announced two new initiatives as part of the record-breaking four-year funding it announced at the 2014 Our Ocean conference. First, the GEF and UN Food and Agriculture Organization launched the Coastal Fisheries Initiative – an aggressive program to reverse the depletion of coastal fisheries, focusing on strengthening fisheries institutions, promoting market platforms, expanding the use of sustainable standards throughout the supply chain and scaling up appropriate governance-based fisheries systems with pilot initiatives in Peru, Ecuador, West Africa, and Indonesia. Second, the GEF, UN Development Programme, and UN Industrial Development Organization have invested in Large Marine Ecosystems in Arafura-Timor Sea and the Gulf of Mexico to bring nations together to manage their shared resources.
  • The Permanent Commission of the South Pacific announced a new program to foster cooperation among Ecuador, Chile, Peru, and Colombia to integrate ocean policies and improve marine policy, capacity building, and decision making in the region.
  • The Ocean Health Index (OHI), a collaboration between Conservation International and the National Center for Ecological Analysis and Synthesis, committed to provide the technical tools and assistance needed by countries and marine and coastal resource managers to help measure and manage ocean health at local, national and regional scales. The OHI is already partnering with more than 22 countries around the world to use the OHI stakeholder engagement process and framework to set priorities and take action to improve ocean health and secure sustained benefits for people. 

Supporting Coastal Communities

  • Senator Lagos Weber from the Valparaíso Region of Chile announced that he has introduced a bill in the Chilean Congress to officially adopt the National Day of the Ocean on June 8, the United Nations World Oceans Day, and to instruct all public institutions to celebrate the day. In addition, Senator Lagos Weber announced the creation of the Our Ocean Chile Foundation to focus on environmental marine education around World Oceans Day. The foundation will educate elementary school students in the Valparaiso Region about ocean issues.
  • India has embarked on ecosystem modelling, shore line management and study on anthropogenic stress on coastal zones. An Indian biogeographic information system and census of marine life has been launched and is available on public domain. India is committed to work on renewable ocean energy like, wave, current, thermal, offshore wind, and marine algae.
  • The Leona M. and Harry B. Helmsley Charitable Trust has committed approximately $6 million this coming year to grantmaking in marine conservation. The Trust supports work to assist coastal communities; promote sustainable fisheries; establish and manage marine protected areas; and improve high seas governance. It is the Trust’s hope to continue to fund at this level or greater in the coming years.

Mapping and Understanding the Ocean

  • The United States announced that its National Science Foundation (NSF) will commission this year the $582 million U.S. Ocean Observatories Initiative – a system of moorings, gliders, and autonomous underwater vehicles located across the north and south Atlantic and Pacific oceans comprised of nearly 800 instruments collecting over 200 measurements, including pH, transmission of carbon dioxide between the ocean and the atmosphere, concentration of phytoplankton, and oxygen levels. Among other benefits, these measurements will help to better understand the effects of increasing carbon dioxide on the ocean ecosystem. All information collected will be online and freely available (http://oceanobservatories.org), much of it in real time, thus allowing better understanding of and response to ocean acidification and other environmental changes.
  • The United States announced that it will invest over $21 million in the Southern Ocean Carbon and Climate Observations and Modeling project (SOCCOM). Over the next five years, SOCCOM will use a robotic observing system of about 200 autonomous floats collecting measurements of temperature, salinity, carbon, nutrients, and oxygen over the entire Southern Ocean to transform the scientific and public understanding of the role of the Southern Ocean in climate change and the physical, chemical, biological, and geological processes that govern the global ocean. Data will be made freely available to the public (soccom.princeton.edu).
  • The European Commissioner for Maritime Affairs, Fisheries and Environment announced that the European Union will dedicate EUR100 million for marine research each year until 2020, advancing research in many maritime areas, including renewable energy, transport, maritime security, climate change, environment, fisheries, and aquaculture.
  • The European Commissioner for Maritime Affairs, Fisheries and Environment announced the creation of an unprecedented multi-resolution map of the European seabed by 2020. The map will be publicly available and will have far-reaching benefits across the wider marine and maritime community.
  • The Bio-Cultural Sub-Antarctic Conservation Program and the Magallanes Region of Chile announced the creation of the Cape Horn SubAntarctic Center at the Puerto Williams Omora Ethno-botanical Park to promote tourism, technical training and teaching, and research at the Cape Horn Biosphere Reserve. This center is a joint effort of the University of Magallanes and the University of North Texas, and is sponsored by the Millennium Scientific Initiative and Chile’s National Science and Technology Commission.
  • The United States and Chile announced an agreement on a joint research and development effort to test two of the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s newest generation Deep Ocean Assessment and Reporting of Tsunami (DART-4G) observational sensors. The Chilean Hydrographic and Oceanographic Service of the Navy (SHOA), with NOAA experts, deployed the buoys from their new Cabo do Hornos research vessel and will maintain them over the next five years. The DART 4G can be deployed directly over a seismically active area, giving the possibility of more lead time for coastal communities and others to prepare for a tsunami. NOAA and SHOA also intend to provide assistance in best practices in tsunami forecasting, including evolving detection capabilities, modeling, and data management, for Pacific Ocean countries.
  • Costa Rica announced that it will promote and support the Jacques Yves Cousteau Observatory for Central America and the Caribbean, with the goal of creating an interdisciplinary information network that will facilitate sustainable development of marine and coastal resources in Costa Rica and the region.


  • U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry announced his intention to host the next Our Ocean conference in the United States in 2016.
  • The European Commissioner for Maritime Affairs, Fisheries and Environment announced his intention to host the 2017 Our Ocean Conference in Europe.