Humanity has depended on the ocean for millennia. Today, however, the rush to the sea is occurring with unprecedented diversity and intensity, propelled by population growth and demand for diminishing terrestrial resources.
A study published in January in the new journal One Earth analyzed 50 years of data on 18 kinds of marine resource claims, broadly grouped as food, material and space. The authors, from the Stockholm Resilience Centre at Stockholm University, captured the results in a series of graphs showing the amount of activity since 1970 in areas such as marine aquaculture, shipping, deep hydrocarbons, and offshore windfarms. The graphs all show sharp upticks in the past 20 to 30 years.