Marine Newsletter #3 2012 – March

Highlights from the Marine Division at GRID-Arendal for March 2012

Featured Project

Green Economy in Small Island Developing States
Linking with the Green Economy in a Blue World report launched in Manila on the 25th of January, UNEP, the UNDESA SIDS Unit and GRID-Arendal are producing a report called Green Economy in a Blue World: Challenges and Opportunities for SIDS.

As a result of their often small size, small populations and remote location, Small Island Developing States (SIDS) face specific challenges in Sustainable Development, and are particularly vulnerable to economic and environmental shocks. At the same time, many of them harbour extraordinary marine ecosystems and benefit from the services they provide. This study looks at SIDS's challenges and opportunities in greening five economic fields of special importance: freshwater management, waste management, small scale fisheries and aquaculture, energy and tourism.

The report will be launched at the "The Living Ocean and Coast" EXPO 2012 in Yeosu, South Korea in June.

For more information, please contact Christian Neumann.

Data and Products

OCEANIDS - change of web address
In January, GRID-Arendal launched OCEANIDS, a new tool to find and examine public marine-related scientific datasets. The web address has now been changed from to
For more information, please contact Yannick Beaudoin.

Map of the Month

Global distribution of large submarine canyons
This map was produced as part of the study "Global distribution of large submarine canyons: Geomorphic differences between active and passive continental margins". The aim of the study was to assess the global occurrence of large submarine canyons to provide context and guidance for discussions regarding canyon occurrence, distribution, geological and oceanographic significance and conservation. Based on an analysis of the ETOPO1 data set, the study has compiled the first inventory of 5849 separate large submarine canyons in the world ocean. 

The map shows the global distribution of large submarine canyons. The study confirms observations of earlier workers that a relationship exists between canyon slope and canyon spacing (increased canyon slope correlates with closer canyon spacing). The greatest canyon spacing occurs in the Arctic and the Antarctic whereas canyons are more closely spaced in the Mediterranean than in other areas. The full map as well as further information about the study can be accessed from our OCEANIDS QuickMaps.

Reference: Peter T. Harris & Tanya Whiteway, Global distribution of large submarine canyons: Geomorphic differences between active and passive continental margins, Marine Geology 285 (2011) 69–86. For more information, please contact Peter Harris.


Recent events
Seminars/meetings/conferences related to the marine environment where representatives from GRID-Arendal have participated:

  • Visit to GRID-Arendal by Øyvind Paasche, leader of Bergen Marine Research Cluster, Arendal, Norway, 7 March – exploring the possibility of cooperation.
  • Second Annual Conference of the Partners of the Global Partnership for Sustainable Tourism, Seoul, Republic of South Korea, 12-14 March – including the Partnership Symposium: Sustainable Tourism – A panorama of the last 10 years, which aimed at identifying communication tools and incentives for the replication of best cases of tourism supporting the establishment or management of protected areas.
  • 2012 TEEB (The Economics of Ecosystems and Biodiversity) Conference, Leipzig, Germany, 19-22 March – presenting GA's recent discussion paper  "Why Value the Oceans?".
  • Meeting with Many Strong Voices partners, including Ronny Jumeau, the new Seychelles Ambassador for Climate Change, New York, USA, 26-28 March.
  • Meeting on possible Marine Cooperation with representatives from University of Agder (UiA), Institute of Marine Research (IMR), Centre for Ecological and Evolutionary Synthesis (CEES), the County Governor and the County Administration, Arendal, Norway, 27 March.

Upcoming events

3 April
Washington DC, USA: Co-hosting the first of three Green Economy in a Blue World webinars as part of the World Bank's Global Development Learning Network. Country connections will span the East Asia Pacific region and include government, NGO and World Bank, UNDP and UNEP representatives.
For more information, please contact Yannick Beaudoin.

17-19 April
London, UK: The Commonwealth Secretariat's Ocean Governance and Maritime Boundaries Forum. GRID-Arendal will facilitate a 3-hour session on Green Economy in a Blue World, including Blue Carbon.
For more information, please contact Yannick Beaudoin.


Did you know that...
...a Japanese trawler which was swept to sea by the tsunami in March 2011 has been spotted from the Canadian coast? University of Hawaii researchers estimate that the tsunami created more than 25 million tonnes of debris, of which four to eight million tonnes were swept into the Pacific.
Source: The Telegraph
...the nation of Kiribati is considering moving its entire population to Fiji? Many of Kiribati's atolls rise just a few feet above sea level, and its leaders are fearing that climate change could wipe out their entire Pacific archipelago.
Source: New Zealand Herald

Picture of the monthCoral, Vanuatu. The coastal and underwater environment of Vanuatu harbours some of the most stunning dive sites in the Pacific Islands.
Photo: Yannick Beaudoin, GRID-Arendal Photo Library.

Our favorite website of the month


Disclaimer: GRID-Arendal does not necessarily endorse the content of external websites, and provides them for information purposes only. If you would like your website to be featured here, please contact Rannveig Nilsen.

EarthWire Marine

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For previous editions of this Marine Newsletter, please visit our Marine Programme website.

Friday 30 Mar 2012