Eugene Nyman

Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science in Maritime Affairs


Oceans Sustainability, Governance & Management


Malmö, Sweden


South Africa

First Advisor

Hildebrand, Lawrence P.


Pressures on the ocean are increasing due to anthropogenic activities, which has a caused decline in the health of the ocean. This has adversely affected the services and goods that populations are able to derive from the ocean. Various international agreements and partnerships, have been adopted to stem the human pressures on the ocean. However, the decline in the health of the ocean, has persisted. Ocean literacy is summarised by UNESCO (2017) as an individual being able to understand the influence they have on the ocean, and the ocean’s influence on their life. The concept has been developed with the aim of educating society about the importance of the ocean, so that the individual will make decisions that do not adversely affect the ocean. The marine and coastal habitats within South Africa’s EEZ are also under pressure, from activities such as over fishing and coastal development, despite the national laws and interventions in place to protect and conserve these habitats. In conjunction, South Africa’s blue ocean economy strategy, Operation Phakisa, has the objective of expanding the country’s economy, by sustainably harnessing the resources of the ocean. The research presents the findings of the adapted International Ocean Literacy Survey, used to determine the level of ocean literacy in a South African high school population sample, as well as a review of ocean knowledge in the South African curriculum. Furthermore, the research looks at how ocean literacy has been adopted by other countries, and what is required for its further integration in South Africa as a tool to prevent further marine environmental degradation.