The Ocean Conservation Trust (OCT) has formed an Ocean Literacy Working Group with grateful support from Defra (Department For Environment, Food and Rural Affairs). The group brings together experts from across the UK to understand how Ocean Literacy could be used to support Ocean Climate policy in the future.

The working group will support Defra, acting as a sounding board for Ocean Literacy packages ahead of ocean events throughout 2021, such as the 26th UN Climate Change Conference, and beyond. The Working Group will develop Ocean Literacy advice, policy, events, programmes and stewardship opportunities across the UK to play a more significant role during the UN’s Decade of Ocean Science for Sustainable Development (2021/2030).

The working group hopes to redefine Ocean Literacy, so it offers everyone ways to get involved in marine conservation and see the Ocean’s future as their own. Part of the Group’s first work will be to understand where to best target Ocean Literacy resources within the next decade.

Members of the Working Group are:

The Working Group’s latest work has been as a sounding board for an Ocean Literacy Evidence Review looking at ‘Understanding Ocean Literacy and Ocean Climate-related behaviour change in the UK.’

The review was commissioned by the OCT to study the link between Ocean literacy and behaviour change with policy recommendations on how this relationship can be improved in the future.

The main aim for the work was to see how Ocean literacy can more effectively connect the public with Ocean and Climate and what is missing from its current definition.

The academic review found that the meaning of Ocean Literacy is shifting to include emotional engagement as a key form of connecting the public to the Ocean. The study recommends that moving forward, Ocean Literacy should include connection to the ocean, emotions, empathy and visiting the ocean as key modes to help build pro Ocean understanding and behaviour in the public sphere.

The OCT was extremely happy to hear this news as we strive to connect people with the Ocean. We inspire our supporters to love the Ocean by offering immersive experiences both on and off the water. We have been building this grass roots campaign for the past two decades and we are happy that the report findings back up our conservation pathway.

We hope this review encourages scientists, NGO’s, governments and teachers to include emotional connection as an Ocean Literacy development tool. It will be an important focus at the beginning of the UN’s Decade of Ocean Science for Sustainable Development (2021/2030), a decade to work together to support our oceans.

Please find a link to the review here.

The working group would like to expand in 2021 to ensure that expertise from multiple disciplines are included, further announcements about this will be made in early 2021.

For any further information on the Ocean Literacy Working Group or the Ocean Literacy Review, please contact