WASHINGTON, D.C. [May 15, 2023] – The Ocean Foundation (TOF) proudly announces today a two-year partnership with the Lloyd’s Register Foundation (LRF), an independent global charity that works to engineer a safer world. The LRF Heritage & Education Centre (HEC) focuses on increasing the understanding and importance of maritime safety and examining the lessons we can learn from the past that will help us shape a safer ocean economy for tomorrow. TOF and LRF HEC will raise awareness about the importance of ocean heritage (natural and cultural) and educate ocean citizens to act on their rights and responsibilities toward a safe and sustainable ocean.
Over the next year, TOF and LRF HEC will collaborate on a groundbreaking ocean literacy project — Threats to Our Ocean Heritage — to highlight the threats that certain ocean uses may have on both our Underwater Cultural Heritage (UCH) and our natural heritage. Threats from Potentially Polluting Wrecks (PPWs), Bottom Trawling, and Deep Seabed Mining impact the safety of the marine environment, Underwater Cultural Heritage, and the lives and livelihoods of people dependent upon a clean ocean.
As one of only two officially endorsed Underwater Cultural Heritage activities under the UN Decade of Ocean Science for Sustainable Development, the project will:
- Publish a three-book reference series, freely accessible to all: “Threats to Our Ocean Heritage”, including 1) Potentially Polluting Wrecks, 2) Bottom Trawling, and 3) Deep Seabed Mining;
- Convene a global network of experts to provide ongoing authoritative input to inform policy change; and
- Engage and educate multiple ocean users and policymakers to inspire conservation action and practical management options.
“We are so pleased to join LRF to raise global awareness about broadening the discussion of ocean heritage and to use that improved ocean literacy to drive policy change,” says Mark J. Spalding, President of The Ocean Foundation. “While most of us are familiar with Underwater Cultural Heritage like a typical shipwreck, we are not usually thinking equally about our natural heritage, like marine animals and the habitats they need, and the complexity of the shared threats which both face from certain ocean uses. We are honored to be working with leading international experts like Maritime Historian and Archeologist, Charlotte Jarvis, and International Legal Expert, Ole Varmer, following his 30-year career with the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, on this effort.”
“While most of us are familiar with Underwater Cultural Heritage like a typical shipwreck, we are not usually thinking equally about our natural heritage, like marine animals and the habitats they need, and the complexity of the shared threats which both face from certain ocean uses.”Mark j. Spalding | President, The OCean Foundation
The interaction between Underwater Cultural Heritage (UCH), natural heritage, and the threats posed varies throughout the globe. This project will involve gathering evidence of these safety challenges in the Atlantic, Mediterranean, Baltic, Black Sea, and Pacific waters. For example, the areas of the coast of West Africa have been subject to fishing exploitation, not only endangering the fish species and the fishermen involved but also the UCH in the coastal waters. In Southeast Asia, the high volume of World War Wrecks with potential pollution poses a threat to marine life but also exist as Underwater Cultural Heritage in their own right and should be protected. In Southeast Asia, seabed mining also threatens long-standing cultural practices referred to as intangible heritage.
The project serves to gather evidence and as a call to action. It includes TOF recommending a moratorium on the activities until scientific research has been done, to integrate baseline ocean heritage information into Environmental Impact Assessments, Marine Spatial Planning, and the designation of Marine Protected Areas.
The work falls under the Cultural Heritage Framework Programme (CHFP), one of the first Actions to be officially endorsed as part of the UN Decade, 2021-2030 (Action #69). The Ocean Decade provides a convening framework for scientists and stakeholders from diverse sectors to develop the scientific knowledge and the partnerships needed to accelerate and harness advances in ocean science — to achieve a better understanding of the ocean system and deliver science-based solutions to achieve the 2030 Agenda. Additional project partners include the Ocean Decade Heritage Network and The International Council on Monuments and Sites–International Committee on the Underwater Cultural Heritage.
About The Ocean Foundation
As the only community foundation for the ocean, The Ocean Foundation (TOF)’s 501(c)(3) mission is to support, strengthen, and promote those organizations dedicated to reversing the trend of destruction of ocean environments around the world. It focuses its collective expertise on emerging threats in order to generate cutting-edge solutions and better strategies for implementation. The Ocean Foundation executes core programmatic initiatives to combat ocean acidification, advance blue resilience, address global marine plastic pollution, and develop ocean literacy for marine education leaders. It also fiscally hosts more than 55 projects across 25 countries. The Threats to Our Ocean Heritage partnership project draws on previous TOF work on a Deep Seabed Mining moratorium, threats to underwater cultural heritage and highlights the risks to UCH from mining.
About Lloyd’s Register Foundation Heritage and Education Centre
Lloyd’s Register Foundation is an independent global charity that builds global coalitions for change. The Lloyd’s Register Foundation, Heritage & Education Centre is a public-facing library and archive holding material concerning over 260 years of marine and engineering science and history. The Centre is focused on increasing the understanding and importance of maritime safety and examining the lessons we can learn from the past that will help us shape a safer ocean economy for tomorrow. The LRF HEC and TOF are also working together to set a new programme in motion – Learning From the Past. This will embed the importance of a historical perspective in finding solutions to contemporary challenges connected to ocean safety, conservation, and sustainable use.