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Policy Needs for Oceans and Human Health

This Policy Brief highlights the inextricable links between oceans health and human health. It presents the main challenges in moving towards a European policy framework that supports and enables Oceans and Human Health to be addressed in a holistic manner. It highlights the research, training, data, monitoring and funding needs to enable such a policy framework to be developed. This publication was produced together with the EU-funded SOPHIE project.

The health of humans and of the ocean are inextricably linked. Humans can gain benefits from the oceans and its ecosystem services including food and energy, but their health can also be at risk from aspects such as storms and pollution. In turn, the health of the ocean can be significantly impacted by human activity, and therefore a balance needs to be sought to safeguard the health of both. However at present, there is no policy at national or European level that explicitly addresses Oceans and Human Health (OHH).

This brief summarises the policy challenges when attempting to address both ocean and human health together, and the cooperation and research needed to enable those challenges to be addressed. It proposes way in which the existing regulatory framework could be adapted to incorporate OHH. It also provides recommendations relating to data and indicators, monitoring, funding and training. Most of these recommendations are initially directed towards a transdisciplinary OHH research community, with a need to provide knowledge and information to support policy development

This brief is built on the recommendations highlighted throughout the course of the SOPHIE project, especially those presented in two project outputs: the Strategic Research Agenda (SRA) for Oceans and Human Health in Europe, and the policy report, which examines how regulatory strategies and tools linked to the EU Integrated Maritime Policy (IMP), and its constituent marine and maritime policy frameworks, relate to Oceans and Human Health.

You can find out more about the SOPHIE project here and EMB's involvement here, see the SOPHIE Strategic Research Agenda here , the SOPHIE policy report here, a news item on the Policy Brief here and find out more about our work on Oceans and Human Health here.

A set of cartoons have also be created especially for this publication by Jacob Bentley, to provide examples and to highlight key messages and recommendations. You can download the full set of images here.