Ocean resources

Aggregate extractionAggregate extraction (sand and gravel). Image: British Marine Aggregate Producers Association

The seas are rich in valuable resources, but many of these resources are finite, so need to be managed in a sustainable way.

Over one-fifth of the world's oil and gas supplies are extracted from under the seabed. The sea also provides other useful minerals, such as bromine, magnesium and salt.

The seas are also a very important source of food. Over 90 million tonnes of fish and shellfish are caught worldwide every year. This global production exceeds that of cattle, sheep, poultry or eggs. As well as providing food, sea-life is used in the search for new medicines and other products. Pharmaceutical companies are already using deep-sea bacteria, fish and plants for drugs to cure some of the world’s most deadly diseases.

The oceans are also one of the most important sources of renewable energy. The tides, waves, currents and temperature differences easily hold enough power to provide all the world’s energy needs. Offshore wind farms, wave and current turbines, and ocean thermal energy conversion are all cutting-edge technologies developed to harness the sea's great reserves of energy.

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