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  • Recent calls for an International Panel for Ocean Sustainability (IPOS) to provide consensus-based science advice for global ocean sustainability appeal to the successes of global science–policy platforms, specifically the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), the Intergovernmental Science–Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES), and the World Ocean Assessment (WOA)1. A new IPOS may facilitate global ocean sustainability, but only if it proactively addresses the challenges facing existing international science–policy platforms—namely representation, accountability, and politicization.

    • Gerald G. Singh
    • Harriet Harden-Davies
    • Yoshitaka Ota
    CommentOpen Access
  • Conservation of nearshore marine ecosystems gains political support from the economic value of cultural ecosystem services from surfing. This contribution is greater if the mental health benefits of surfing are included. For the Gold Coast, Australia, these are estimated at ~US$1.0–3.3 billion per year. Mental health benefits from surfing comprise 57–74% of the total economic benefits of surfing; 4.4–13.5 times direct expenditure by surfers; and 4–12 times economic effects via property and inbound tourism. For the 50 million surfers worldwide, these translate to a global estimated value of ~US$0.38–1.30 trillion per year. Greater accuracy will require multi-year panel studies.

    • Ralf C. Buckley
    • Mary-Ann Cooper
    CommentOpen Access
  • If the full net cost of deep-seabed mining (DSM) is determined for different entities with a stake in DSM (e.g., countries, private companies, the public), would such analysis support DSM or not? We surveyed existing literature to lay the foundation for addressing this question. Although further work is needed before a conclusive determination can be made, preliminary findings suggest that DSM is unlikely to be appealing to most of the entities covered by this study if the full net cost of DSM is comprehensively considered.

    • U. R. Sumaila
    • L. Alam
    • R. Flint
    CommentOpen Access
  • The construct of ocean identity provides a valuable lens that can unpack the multiple dimensions of human connections with ocean spaces, and crucially places importance on the integration of cognitive, affective, and behavioral components. The construct of ocean identity is applicable in academic and professional contexts, and is largely unexplored from both qualitative and quantitative research perspectives. This comment article presents a revised definition of ocean identity and posits a useful conceptual framework based on a robust analysis of literature to unveil the multiple dimensions that may explain an individuals’ ocean identity. Here we identify a series of attributes that could be considered possible explanatory attributes of the emerging concept of ocean identity. Future research will statistically test the concepts presented here to validate a scale for measuring ocean identity. This piece contributes to the ongoing ocean literacy discourse and deepens our understanding of the multiple conceptual dimensions of ocean identity.

    • Miriah R. Kelly
    • Jo-Marie Kasinak
    • Jennifer H. Mattei
    CommentOpen Access
  • How can ocean governance and science be made more equitable and effective? The majority of the world’s ocean-dependent people live in low to middle-income countries in the tropics (i.e., the ‘tropical majority’). Yet the ocean governance agenda is set largely on the basis of scientific knowledge, funding, and institutions from high-income nations in temperate zones. These externally driven approaches undermine the equity and effectiveness of current solutions and hinder leadership by the tropical majority, who are well positioned to activate evidence-based and context-specific solutions to ocean-sustainability challenges. Here, we draw together diverse perspectives from the tropics to propose four actions for transformational change that are grounded in perspectives, experiences, and knowledge from the tropics: 1. Center equity in ocean governance, 2. Reconnect people and the ocean, 3. Redefine ocean literacy, and 4. Decolonize ocean research. These actions are critical to ensuring a leading role for the tropical majority in maintaining thriving ocean societies and ecosystems.

    • Ana K. Spalding
    • Kirsten Grorud-Colvert
    • Rebecca Vega Thurber
    CommentOpen Access
  • The new ‘High Seas Treaty’ adopted by the United Nations on June 19, 2023, leaves a lot open to question but does establish several historic benchmarks for protecting the high seas, setting the stage for further scientific exploration and paving the way for more effective marine conservation. This Comment describes what we know and do not know about the Treaty at this point. We know that the Treaty is about resources, equity, conservation, and diversity. What we are lacking are more specifics about how the Treaty would be implemented in practice. Such specifics are passed on to future working groups and a Conference of Parties.

    • Kristin Deasy
    CommentOpen Access
  • Surfing is a Cultural Ecosystem Service providing health, social and economic benefits to millions of surfers and thousands of coastal communities worldwide. We explain why ‘surfing ecosystems’ (surf breaks and their surrounding environments) are valuable natural assets, yet their sustainability is compromised by mounting threats. We discuss international conservation frameworks and propose recommendations to advance the protection of surfing ecosystems.

    • Ana Manero
    CommentOpen Access
  • The impacts of deep seabed mining on people have not been sufficiently researched or addressed. Using a legitimacy framework, we discuss the social-equity dimensions of this emerging industry in the ocean commons.

    • Aline Jaeckel
    • Harriet Harden-Davies
    • Katherine Seto
    CommentOpen Access
  • With a new international agreement on the conservation and sustainable use of marine biodiversity of areas beyond national jurisdiction (BBNJ Agreement) on the horizon, now is the time to start laying the foundation for successful implementation. This paper provides some initial reflections for supporting rapid, effective, and equitable implementation of the BBNJ Agreement in three priority areas: (1) bringing the Agreement into force; (2) establishing the institutional framework, including financial mechanisms; and (3) developing capacity, science, and technology. With reference to selected examples from other international processes, the paper makes suggestions for encouraging wide ratification of the BBNJ Agreement, establishing a Preparatory Commission (PrepCom), mobilizing resources, and building partnerships to advance science and capacity. The growing impacts of climate change and human activities on the global ocean necessitate urgent action, so we must begin to work on the implementation of the BBNJ Agreement as soon as possible to secure ocean health for the benefit of present and future generations.

    • Kristina M. Gjerde
    • Nichola A. Clark
    • Glen Wright
    CommentOpen Access
  • Local marine stewardship initiatives and ocean defenders are at the forefront of ocean sustainability efforts, yet often receive insufficient recognition and support. We make five recommendations to bring greater attention and support to local marine stewardship and ocean defenders in research, policy, practice, and funding.

    • Nathan J. Bennett
    • Philippe Le Billon
    • Paula Satizábal
    CommentOpen Access