TOKYO--(BUSINESS WIRE)--The IOC-UNESCO hosted its “Ocean’s 8 Champions” awards ceremony on June 6 during the Ocean Conference held at the UN Headquarters in NY, to recognize organizations’ and individuals’ outstanding contributions in the field of ocean science. The eight recipients included The Nippon Foundation Chairman Yohei Sasakawa. In his acceptance speech, Sasakawa announced plans for “Seabed 2030,” a joint project of The Nippon Foundation and the General Bathymetric Chart of the Oceans (GEBCO) Guiding Committee to produce a complete map of the world’s ocean floor by 2030.
The sea floor accounts for roughly two-thirds of the earth’s surface, yet we know only about 15% of its topography. The sea floor topography is termed the earth’s last frontier, and is said to include more unchartered territory than on either the Moon or on Mars. The need for mapping this frontier was first advocated by Prince Albert I of Monaco, known as the father of modern oceanography, at the beginning of the 20th century.
In creating this high-resolution map, the world’s ocean will be separated into four regions (North Pacific / Arctic Ocean, Atlantic / Indian Ocean, South Pacific / West Pacific Ocean, Southern Ocean), with a data assembly coordination center established in each region to collect existing data. The project will also utilize data collected from fishing and merchant vessels equipped with measurement devices.
The cooperation of 78 fellows from 36 countries who have participated in the joint training program of the Nippon Foundation and the GEBCO Guiding Committee to train experts in the field of ocean floor mapping, as well as from public institutions, universities, and businesses, has already been enlisted.
The newest version of the ocean floor map will be made available on Seabed 2030’s official website every time there is an update. Cooperation with Google Earth and search engines like ESRI’s Ocean Basemap is also being considered.
In his acceptance speech, Sasakawa termed the completion of the world’s ocean map as “people’s dream” and asked all to support this project, stating that “the world’s ocean map is necessary not only for safe navigation at sea, but also for promoting sustainable development at sea”.