OverviewAnnual ThemeHistory

Why celebrate World Oceans Day?

A healthy world ocean is critical to our survival. Every year, World Oceans Day provides a unique opportunity to honor, help protect, and conserve the world’s oceans. Oceans are very important:

  • OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThey generate most of the oxygen we breathe
  • They help feed us
  • They regulate our climate
  • They clean the water we drink
  • They offer a pharmacopoeia of medicines
  • They provide limitless inspiration!

Now each of us can give back

Participate in a World Oceans Day event or activity this year and help protect the ocean for the future! It’s up to each one of us to help ensure that our ocean is healthy for future generations. World Oceans Day allows us to:

  • Change perspective – encourage individuals to think about what the ocean means to them and what it has to offer all of us with hopes of conserving it for present and the future generations.
  • Learn – discover the wealth of diverse and beautiful ocean creatures and habitats, how our daily actions affect them, and how we are all interconnected.
  • Change our ways – we are all linked to, and through, the ocean! By taking care of your backyard and helping in your community, you are acting as a caretaker of our ocean. Making small modifications to your everyday habits will make a difference, and involving your family, friends, and community will benefit our blue planet even more!
  • Celebrate – whether you live inland or on the coast, we are all connected to the ocean. Take the time to think about how the ocean affects you, and how you affect the ocean, and then organize or participate in activities that celebrate our ocean.

How can I get involved?

It’s fun and easy! This site was developed as a free resource for everyone around the world to use:

Despite the huge challenges facing the world’s ocean, by working together we can support a healthy ocean that is able to sustainably provide for the billions of humans, plants, and animals that depend on it every day. On World Oceans Day, people around our blue planet celebrate and honor the ocean, which connects us all. Get together with your family, friends, community, and the planet to start creating a better future. Working together, we can and will protect our shared ocean. We hope you will be a part of this growing global celebration!

The Ocean Project has promoted and coordinated this event since 2002. We work in partnership with hundreds of organizations and networks, including World Ocean Network, the Association of Zoos and Aquariums, and our activities are supported thanks to many others. Thank you also to the Government of Canada for proposing the idea of a World Ocean Day, at the Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro in 1992, and to the United Nations for officially recognizing June 8th as World Oceans Day, since 2008.

Healthy Oceans, Healthy Planet

The World Oceans Day theme for 2015 – 2016 is Healthy oceans, healthy planet.square-ocean-heart

The ocean is the heart of our planet. Like your heart pumping blood to every part of your body, the ocean connects people across the Earth, no matter where we live. The ocean regulates the climate, feeds millions of people every year, produces most of the oxygen we breathe, is the home to an incredible array of wildlife, provides us with important medicines, and so  much more! In order to ensure the health and safety of our communities and future generations, it’s imperative that we take the responsibility to care for the ocean as it cares for us.

Everyone’s health depends on a clean, productive ocean. During our celebration this year, we encourage our partners and friends to once again think about what actions each of us can take to safeguard vulnerable ocean communities. Please focus on whatever issues you think are most important for a healthy ocean future.

On this site, you will find many resources about plastic pollution in particular. The ocean and its wildlife is choking on plastic, and we need to not only clean it up, but stop this pollution at the source.


World Oceans Day is the official UN-designated international day of ocean celebration.  On June 8th each year, we celebrate the ocean, its importance in our lives, and how we can protect it.

“We have to ensure that oceans continue to meet our needs without compromising  those of future generations. They regulate the planet’s climate and are a significant  source of nutrition. Their surface provides essential passage for global trade, while their  depths hold current and future solutions to humanity’s energy needs.”

Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon

Marketing resourcesThe concept for a “World Ocean Day” was first proposed in 1992 by the Government of Canada at the Earth Summit
in Rio de Janeiro. As a result of a United Nations General Assembly resolution passed in December 2008, World Oceans Day is now officially recognized by the UN as June 8th each year.

Since 2002, The Ocean Project has promoted and coordinated this event. Among other things, we have created the website and social media platforms, and provided other tools and resources for organizations and individuals around the world to use for free, all to help raise the profile of the ocean and inspire more involvement in helping to conserve this amazing resource we all depend on.

A Global Network

Together with the World Ocean Network, from 2003 to 2008 we developed and widely circulated a petition to the United Nations urging them to officially recognize World Oceans Day. With help from our partner organizations, tens of thousands of people from all parts of the world signed online or paper copies of the petition. WorldOceansDay_med_logoOfficial recognition of World Oceans Day by the United Nations provided an important boost to those organizations and individuals who have been deeply committed to ocean conservation and is an important step toward improving the health of our world’s ocean.

In helping to build a World Oceans Day network of partners around our planet, we collaborate with hundreds of organizations and networks, including aquariums, zoos, museums, youth groups, sailors, divers, swimmers and other recreational interest groups, governments, conservation organizations, universities, schools, businesses and many others, including the World Ocean Network and the World Association of Zoos and Aquariums. Each year an increasing number of countries and organizations mark June 8th as an opportunity to celebrate our world ocean and our personal connection to the sea.

Why “World OceanS Day”?

WOD Japan
Photo: World Oceans Day Japan

The Ocean Project recognizes that there is one global ocean that connects us all. Within our one ocean, there are five distinct oceans: the Pacific Ocean, Atlantic Ocean, Indian Ocean, Arctic Ocean, and Southern Ocean. Until 2009, we promoted “World Ocean Day” but added the “s” after the United Nations General Assembly passed a resolution in late 2008 officially recognizing June 8th as World Oceans Day. Perhaps one day the UN will embrace the singular “Ocean” but in the meantime, we are following the UN-designated use of World Oceans Day to show solidarity for the conservation of this important resource that connects us all.

What can I do?!

We need your help to grow this event and spread its positive impact. We hope you will be involved in planning or participating in a World Oceans Day celebration near you! Please visit the rest of this World Oceans Day website, which was developed as a free resource for everyone in the world to use. List your celebration and find others on our global community map, get celebration ideas, access media and outreach resources, and more!