Policy makers require reliable, up-to-date data to drive and make informed decisions on sustainable ocean management. While systems exist for specific locations and marine topics, like fishing or mangroves, there is no centralized, intuitive data platform for the ocean. This hinders policymakers’ ability to protect the ocean’s resources and ecosystems long-term.

The Ocean Watch platform’s extensive, user-friendly format supports the flow of data into policy and aims to present essential and reliable ocean data to policymakers. The digestible system of data and tools will address a data gap in ocean policy development and planning.

Launching in September 2021, Ocean Watch will be a central resource for policymakers and other users to easily understand the human-influenced pressures on ocean ecosystems and conduct informed trade-off processes, such as cost-benefit analyses. By providing this information in an easy-to-navigate format, the platform will help foster a move toward policies rooted in integrated ocean management in line with the recommendations of the High Level Panel for a Sustainable Ocean Economy. 

Prospective users’ needs and feedback guided the platform’s development. In response to specific requests from users, Ocean Watch will provide online resources that explain the land-sea interface, the physical area between land and open ocean. Often concentrated at coastlines, the land-sea interface is riddled with economic opportunity, but this dynamic space can be difficult to understand, and thus challenging for policymakers to develop integrated ocean policy. Ocean Watch’s data reveals land pressures generated by the ocean, such as nutrient pollution and erosion, enabling joint discussions between governing bodies responsible for land and the ocean — a long time goal of policymakers.

Ocean Watch will sit within WRI’s Resource Watch platform, allowing it to build upon Resource Watch’s existing functionality and datasets, as well as add new ocean data.

The Global Environment Facility (GEF) supports Ocean Watch under the project: “Strengthening the Blue Economy: The Economic Case, Science-Informed Policy, and Transparency.”

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