The ocean is a major economic player

The ocean plays a major role in the lives of millions of people. If we let it die or waste away, we will be dooming those who depend on it. They will be forced to find other ways and places to make a living.

The ocean’s economic impact is a clearly quantified item of data that makes it possible to understand the role it plays in the planet’s ethnographic balance, on top of the ethical or health considerations.

Like it or not, the decline of the oceans is a problem that concerns us all.




Fish is the number one source of protein for around 3 billion people (14)

What does this mean? It means that these 3 billion people won’t be able to survive if there isn’t enough fish left. And they will have to seek out other means of sustenance.

Other data

  • Fishing and aquaculture provide a living for 10 to 12% of the world’s population (15).
  • 60% of the world’s population lives within 100km of the coast (5).
  • Between 1960 and 2012, fish consumption per capita rose from 9.9kg to 19.2kg (14) and even 20kg in Europe (52).

The economic impact of the ocean

2,400 billion $

The total economic value created by the ocean, equivalent to the 7th biggest world power. 70% of this value depends on it being in good health (43).

69,000 jobs

In its current state, Australia’s Great Barrier Reef “employs” 69,000 people (43).

14 to 35 million $

Estimated subsidies paid to the fishing industry. The capacities of the world’s fleet are over twice the sustainable threshold (5).


In the early 1990s, cod from the Grand Banks of Newfoundland provided employment to 110,000 people (fishing and processing taken together). In 1992, the collapse of cod stocks resulted in the loss of 40,000 jobs, including those of 10,000 fishermen.

The date


date when the ocean will be empty of fish and filled with plastic

The increase in plastic pollution in the ocean, overfishing and the increasing world population are all factors that are choking off the “stock” of marine animals. Their numbers have dropped by 49% in the last 25 years (5).

In the next 15 years, the population of the Pacific will need an extra 115,000 fish (39).

The Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) are growing worldwide, but they only make up 1.6% of the ocean and 90% of them are open to fishing (38).

This equation is impossible to solve as things stand, and the system will have collapsed by 2050.

Other data

  • The fish stocks are under maximum pressure: 29% of them are overfished and 61% totally exploited (14).
  • Fishing nets are going deeper all the time, and have been limited to 800 metres in Europe, thanks in particular to the work of associations such as Bloom.
  • Bycatch (accidentally catching another species in addition to the intended one) creates appalling waste. Prawn-fishing can be up to 90% bycatch (41).

Points to remember

The ocean is one of the cornerstones of the world food system but also an economic player in its own right. Billions of people depend on it for sustenance, in developing countries as well as so-called developed countries.

The increasing world population, increase in plastic and chemical pollution, and the collapse of fish stocks will create a major crisis that will be extremely difficult to solve.

We must act now, and such is the mission of the big general-purpose charities like WWF or Greenpeace, and the more specialist ones such as Bloom.

The ocean feeds the food we eat

The ocean makes the air we breathe

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