The Indian Ocean

The Indian Ocean is the third largest in the world, covering an area of more than 70 million sq km.

It is the least explored of the World’s Oceans and has become known as the “Forlorn Ocean” in scientific literature. The Indian Ocean remains home to a diverse marine life including some of the most pristine coral reefs in the world and the iconic coelocanth, a living fossil from a bygone age.

The Indian Ocean’s littoral countries are home to one third of the world’s population, for whom a resilient ocean is vital to their economies, security and livelihoods. However the region and its resources now face challenges from the impact of climate change such as sea-level rise, ocean acidification, deoxygenation zones and extreme weather events; as well as from pollution, habitat degradation and over-exploitation of fisheries.

The blue economy approach is increasingly being adopted by Indian Ocean countries as a means to promote economic growth, social inclusion, and the preservation or improvement of livelihoods while at the same time ensuring environmental sustainability of the oceans and coastal areas. The blue economy aims to move beyond business as usual and to consider economic development and ocean health as compatible propositions. This in turn requires sound scientific knowledge of ocean resources upon which to build management plans.

Large Ocean Nations (as Small Island States are increasingly known) have a unique perspective on these challenges.