Improving ocean literacy in Australia and New Zealand

Improve ocean literacy with the MSC's teaching and learning resources and discover how we can all help keep our oceans healthy.

Ocean themed teaching resources



Explore ocean-themed education resources aligned with the Australian curriculum suitable for Stages 3-5, including lesson plans, videos, fact sheets, games, and activities.

Aotearoa New Zealand

Aotearoa New Zealand

Explore Te Kawa o Tangaroa - an ocean-centred learning programme focussed on solutions to overfishing and how we can ensure oceans teeming with life.

If you're not in Australia or New Zealand, discover a range of international teacher and parent resources.

Ocean learning for kids

Explore our activities, downloads and games for children. Plus, fun sustainable seafood recipes.

What is ocean literacy?

Ocean literacy is defined as “an understanding of the ocean's influence on you and your influence on the ocean”.

It is widely accepted that there are seven principles of ocean literacy.

The 7 principles of ocean literacy:

  1. The Earth has one big ocean with many features
  2. The ocean and life in the ocean shape the features of Earth
  3. The ocean is a major influence on weather and climate
  4. The ocean made the Earth habitable
  5. The ocean supports a great diversity of life and ecosystems
  6. The ocean and humans are inextricably interconnected
  7. The ocean is largely unexplored

Being ocean literate means:

  • Understanding the importance of the ocean
  • Being able to effectively communicate about the ocean
  • Acting as a conscious ocean citizen and advocate
A student learning about ocean literacy. Their hand is holding a cut out of a paper fish.


Why is ocean literacy important?

Our ocean is facing a triple threat of climate change, overfishing and pollution. Ocean literacy ensures that our future leaders and shoppers are equipped with the knowledge to continue the fight to protect our ocean.

A key objective of the UN Decade of Ocean Science for Sustainable Development is to boost ocean literacy in the formal education sector. The aim is to create a new generation of ocean leaders by 2030.

The MSC has a vision of oceans teeming with life for this and future generations. Therefore, the MSC provides teachers with free to use teaching and learning resources aligned to their curriculum. By working with partners such as zoos, aquaria and museums, we're providing free teacher workshops to equip teachers with the confidence to advance ocean literacy.

The challenges of ocean literacy

There are a number of challenges associated with ocean literacy that highlight the importance of teachers using credible and science-based resources.

  1. Ocean misinformation is prevalent such as Netflix Seaspiracy which has been fact-checked by numerous organisations
  2. Scientific language can be technical and nuanced making it difficult to simplify
  3. The ocean provides a vital resource that is often politicised making certain topics controversial
  4. The future can seem bleak and helpless for adults and children alike
  5. Many teachers are ill-equipped with one in eight science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) classes in Australia taught by a teacher outside their field of expertise
  6. Ocean literacy is not explicitly mentioned in the curriculum and must be linked to multiple learning outcomes
  7. Ocean literacy progress is not systematically measured

Alex Webb

Alex Webb

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A poem for the future of our ocean by Nicola Tsiolis


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