Oceanography Lecture Notes Outline




    I. Marine Economics

          A. Definition of “Economy” -

1. Defined

2. Who is part of the marine economy?

      3. Who makes the decisions concerning what is produced, how it is

           produced,  how much, where it is going, and for how much money?

B. Supply and Demand of Marine Products and Services in Global Markets

1.     Not a truly “free market” system

2.     Some negative aspects of products and services not included in price

3.     Level of growth and exploitation of marine resources

·        Nearly all resources currently exploited at unsustainable rates

·        Little in the way of global regulation and moderation


C. What makes a resource economically feasible?  Unfeasible?

1.    Cost considerations

·        Exploration

·        Research and Development

·        Exploitation/Extraction

·        Transportation

·        Marketing

·        Supply and Demand

·        Competing land-based resources

·        Benefits versus Harmful effects

          D. Nonrenewable versus Renewable Resources

·         Based on the rate at which a resource replenishes itself

·         Rates on the scale years up to hundred years is considered renewable

ü     Examples include fisheries and desalinated water

·         Rates on the scale of hundreds to millions of years considered nonrenewable

ü      Examples include crude oil, natural gas, and manganese nodules.


II. Various Types of Marine Resources

          A. Physical Resources

1. Hydrocarbon deposits

·        Types

o       Petroleum (oil)

o       Natural Gas

o       Methane hydrate

·        Importance

v    Offshore oil and gas generated $300 billion in revenues in 2001

v    35% oil extraction from seabed

v    25% natural gas extraction from seabed

v    1/3 of world’s known reserves occur along continental margins

·        Locations in the USA

v    California, Louisiana, and Texas continental margins

v    North Slope of Alaska

·        Formation of Oil and Gas

v    Nearly always associated with marine shelf sediments

v    Most likely forms from planktonic and/or soft-bodied benthic organisms that die and fall to the seafloor

v    Collect in quiet, low-oxygen basins

v    Progressively buried organic matter slow-cooked

v    Takes millions of years to form

v    Oil and gas rises and collects in geologic structural “traps”

v    Concentrated in porous rock “reservoir” formations beneath an impermeable rock cap layer

·        Offshore drilling and extraction of oil and gas is far more expensive than land-based operations

·        Very little likelihood of oil and gas deposits in the deep ocean seabed

·        Methane hydrate is by far the most abundant hydrocarbon on Earth

v    In the form of methane-laced ice trapped in sediments on the continental shelves

v    Very costly and dangerous to exploit

v    Could pose a significant factor in global warming


2.    Mineral Resources

·        Sand and Gravel

v    Presently most commercially profitable

·        Salts

v    Extracted using evaporation ponds along arid shorelines

v    Various salts are segregated by systematic shifting of the brines

·        Magnesium

v    Third most abundant element in seawater

·        Manganese nodules

v    Litters the deep ocean abyssal plains

v    Also rich in iron, copper, nickel and cobalt

v    Represents a 2000-year supply at current consumption rate

v    Presently no commercial mining

·        Phosphorite deposits

v    Important fertilizer and industrial chemical source

·        Metal sulphides

v    Concentrated at deep-sea volcanic centers such as mid-ocean spreading centers and rift zones

v    Rich in zinc, copper, iron, lead, silver, and cadmium

v    Precipitate from hot mineral-rich hydrothermal fluids ejected at black and white smoker vents


1.    Fresh Water

·        Desalinization

v    Methods include distillation, reverse osmosis, and freezing

v    Over 1,500 plants operating worldwide

v    Desalinization is generally an expensive process

·        Iceberg harvesting

v    Towing of Antarctic icebergs to urbanized coastal centers 


B. Energetics ResourcesTapping Ocean energy

1. Wind

·        Fastest growing source of energy in the world

2. Waves and Currents

·        Wind waves

v    Greatest surface energy source

·        Tidal Currents

v    Commercially-proven technology

·        Ocean Currents

v    Example: Gulf Stream

3. Thermal Gradient

v    The greatest potential for ocean energy by far

v    Proven technology

v    Limited to the deep-ocean tropics

v    Ocean thermal energy conversion (OTEC) systems

4.     All ocean energy sources are

v    Renewable – virtually inexhaustible

v    Very Clean

v    Presently uneconomical, except for wind


C. Biological Resources

1.    Fish, Crustaceans, and Mollusks

·        The most valuable living marine resource

·        130 million tons landed in 2001 by commercial fisherman

·        2001 worldwide marine catch estimated at $90 billion

·        Fewer than 500 species are regularly caught on a commercial scale

·        15 million people employed worldwide in the fisheries industry

·        Most dangerous job in the USA

·        Roughly half of worldwide marine catch taken by only five counties

·        Roughly 75% of annual worldwide catch taken by commercial fishers


2.    Whaling

·        Hunted since the late 1800’s

·        Taken for their meat, bones and blubber (oil)

v    Meat for human and animal food

v    Bones for fertilizer and foods supplements

v    Oil for lubrication and many other uses

·        Estimated 4 ½ million whales lived around 1900

·        Today there is an estimated 1 million whales remaining

·        Eight of the eleven large species of whales are commercially extinct

·        Moratorium on large whaling hunting made by International Whaling Commission in 1986

·        Norway and Japan  have ignored the moratorium


3.    Fur-bearing mammals

·        Killed for their fur

v    Mostly seals and sea lions

v    Close to ½ million animals taken

v    Illegal in USA except the northern seal


4.    Botanical

·        Marine Algae

v    Algin for wide variety of uses

ü     Food and beverages

ü     Cosmetics

ü     Fabrics

ü     Paints and inks

·        Seaweeds

v    Eaten directly as food


   5.  Fishery (Mis)management and Government subsidies

·        Concept of “maximum sustainable yield

v    Defined

v    Critical importance to properly managed fisheries.

v    Presently many fisheries are at this limit or even over it.

·        Concept of “commercial extinction” of marine species

v    Defined

v    Numerous examples

ü     Orange Roughy


v    U.S. National Fisheries Service estimates that 45% of the fish stocks of whose status are known are “overfished”.

v    Dominant motivating force of industry is short-term profit.

·        Government subsidization of commercial fisheries

v    Industry spent $124 billion to catch $70 billion worth of marine life in 1995



          6. Commercial Fishing Practices

·        Types of disruptive, mis-targeted, commercial-scale fishing techniques

v    Long-line fishing

v    Bottom trawling

v    Drift net fishing

·        The above types of fishing techniques produces considerable “bykill”.

v    Bykill defined

v    Impact on marine communities from bykill

·        Commercial fishing enterprises rarely use reason or restraint in their fishing practices.


          7. Aquaculture

·        Aquaculture defined

·        Currently produces more than ¼ of all fish consumed by humans

·        Most aquaculture occurs in Asian countries

·        Mostly freshwater fish

·        By 2010 aquaculture may overtake cattle ranching as a food source


          8. Mariculture

·        Mariculture defined

·        Mainly done along shorelines in estuaries, bays, and inlets

·        About 1/8 to that of aquaculture production worldwide

·        Several types of marine animals are “farmed” on a large-scale

v    Salmon and plaice

v    Shrimp

v    Oysters and abalone

·        Several types of marine animals are “ranched”

v    Salmon

v    Yellowtail and Blue fin tuna

·        Oyster and salmon mariculture are profitable enterprises in the USA

v    Annual revenues exceeding $150 million


          9. Drugs from the Sea

·        Estimated that 10% of marine organisms have useful drug compounds

·        Several groups of organisms have already showed promising derivatives

v    Sponges

v    Corals

v    Tunicates

v    Bryozoans

v    Annelids



D. Non-Extractive Resources

1. Defined

2. Transportation and Recreation are the two main types

3. Transporting

·        Cargo

v    Primary payload is crude oil

ü     Accounts for 53% of shipped tonnage

ü     ½ of world’s oil shipped via tankers

v    Iron, coal, and grain make up another 24%

·        Passengers

v    Waterway commuter routes

v    Cruise ship industry

      4. Recreation

·        Pleasure boating

·        Whale watching, fishing, scuba diving and surfing charters


E. Renewable versus Nonrenewable Resources

          1. Define the difference

          2. Examples of each


III. Law of the Sea

1. Concept of “Law of the Sea” initially defined in 1609 by a Dutchman

·        Forms basis of modern international maritime laws

    2. Concept of “Territorial Waters” first defined in 1703

    3. Modern day Law of the Sea

·        Modern “Law of the Sea” drafted and signed by delegates to the United Nations Draft Convention on the Law of the Sea in 1982.

v    USA voted against it

·        The modern “Law of the Sea” document contains the following features:

v    Territorial waters defined

ü     Placed at the 12-mile limit from shore

v    Exclusive Economic Zones (EEZ) defined

ü     Placed at the 200-mile (370 kilometers) limit from shore

ü     National sovereignty over resources, economics, and environmental protection

ü     About 40% of world ocean under control of coastal countries within the EEZs

v    “High seas” defined

ü     All areas outside the EEZ’s

ü     Common property to all world citizens

ü     International Seabed Authority established to oversee exploitation of deep sea bottom mineral resources

v    Protection and management of world ocean

v    Concerns regarding resources and pollution