UK Hydro Office to take lead on G7 ocean initiative

By on 9 July, 2018

Inside the UKHO offices at Taunton, Somerset, England. Image provided by UKHO.

Following the commitments to ocean science at the G7 in June, the UK’s Hydrographic Office (UKHO) has announced that it intends to spearhead action on pledges with its marine geospatial specialists and scientists. 

Signed into existence at the G7 summit, the Charlevoix Blueprint for Healthy Oceans, Seas and Resilient Coastal Communities sets out seven commitments to aimed at fostering sustainable oceanic activities, aimed at tackling issues such as ocean plastics, coastal resilience and the ‘blue economy’.

The UKHO is the primary charting authority for 71 states globally, and provides nautical charts, publications and services to over 90 percent of ships trading internationally.

According to a statement, the UKHO is already working with partners on two programmes across the globe to support emergency preparedness and recovery, support the management of coastal zones, expand ocean data observation and seabed mapping, and manage fisheries and marine protected areas (MPAs) – all initiatives identified by the Blueprint as priorities for healthy oceans and economies globally.

UKHO CEO John Humphrey. Image provided by UKHO.

John Humphrey, Chief Executive of the UKHO, said that as a world-leading marine geospatial data agency, the UKHO eagerly anticipates working to support partners achieve the goals of the Blueprint.

“It is extremely gratifying to see this global coalition of leaders commit to ocean goals that the UKHO knows from experience have a direct benefit on individuals and economies in coastal communities and nations around the world.

“We have also seen first-hand how accurate and up-to-date seabed mapping can contribute to dual aims of marine protection and the development of the Blue Economy. The associated positive economic benefits of hydrography are clear: with the average return of approximately £7.50 for every £1.00 spent. However, this ratio can exceed 1:250 for more remote, more geographically challenged and less developed nations,” he said.

The Overseas Territories Seabed Mapping Programme, funded by the UK Government’s Conflict, Stability and Security Fund (CSSF) and co-ordinated by the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO), is focused on undertaking seabed mapping in territories under the jurisdiction and sovereignty of the UK, such as Anguilla, the British Virgin Islands (BVIs), the Cayman Islands and Montserrat.

Furthermore, the UKHO also plays a leading role in the FCO’s Commonwealth Marine Economies (CME) Programme, alongside the Centre for Environment, Fisheries and Aquaculture Science (Cefas) and the National Oceanography Centre (NOC).

Inside the cockpit of a UKHO survey boat. Image provided by UKHO.

The Blueprint commits G7 nations to:

  1. Support better adaptation planning, emergency preparedness and recovery
  2. Support innovative financing for coastal resilience
  3. Launch a joint G7 initiative to deploy Earth observation technologies and related applications to scale up capacities for the integrated management of coastal zones
  4. Increase the availability and sharing of science and data
  5. Address Illegal, Unreported and Unregulated (IUU) fishing and other drivers of over-exploitation of fish stocks
  6. Support strategies to effectively protect and manage vulnerable areas of our oceans
  7. Take a lifecycle approach to plastics stewardship on land and at sea, moving towards the more resource efficient and sustainable management of plastics

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