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Collection of 1000s of stunning and powerful ocean images by award-winning photographers made freely available to support the Ocean Decade

Date: 15 July 2021

The Ocean Agency together with UNESCO’s Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission announced today the official launch of the Ocean Image Bank, an online library of thousands of powerful ocean images that have been made freely available for download and use. The imagery collection has been developed specifically to support the objectives of the UN Decade of Ocean Science for Sustainable Development 2021-2030 (the ‘Ocean Decade’) and has been endorsed as one of the official contributions to the Decade.

The Ocean Image Bank is designed for use by the media, educators, creators, communicators, and anyone else looking to support the Ocean Decade by helping raise awareness about the ocean and its importance as well as inspiring greater support for ocean science and conservation action.

“Accessing affordable media-quality ocean imagery has been a major challenge for communicators that has limited both the intensity of media coverage and the convincing power of communications about the ocean for many years. It is one of the reasons why there remains a widespread lack of understanding about the importance of the ocean and the seriousness of ocean issues. It has also contributed towards the chronic lack of support for ocean science and conservation action that the Ocean Decade is suffering,” said Vladimir Ryabinin, Executive Secretary of UNESCO’s IOC in charge of global coordination for the Ocean Decade.

The Ocean Image Bank was created by The Ocean Agency – the nonprofit, famous for taking Google Street View underwater and revealing the impacts of climate change on the ocean in the Netflix Original Documentary Chasing Coral. 

“People say that an image is worth a thousand words, but in ocean conservation, an image can be far more valuable than that. Some of our individual images, that reveal what’s happening in the ocean, have helped generate media coverage that’s been valued at well over a million dollars for each image, educating an audience in the billions. That’s why we are making the imagery even more accessible.” said Richard Vevers, Founder of The Ocean Agency.

Over 100 of the world’s top ocean photographers have generously supported the initiative - providing stunning and powerful imagery that is being made available alongside The Ocean Agency’s own imagery taken during their Underwater Street View and Chasing Coral expeditions.

The imagery covers a wide range of ocean subjects and issues ranging from coral reefs to mangroves, to life in the high seas. Additional imagery as well as creative communication and inspiration toolkits will be added to the Ocean Image Bank over the coming months and throughout the Ocean Decade. The Ocean Image Bank was funded by the Lemonade Insurance GiveBack programme. 

Media are encouraged to showcase galleries of the image to help raise awareness of the ocean and the importance of the Ocean Decade 2021-2030.


Media contacts:

The Ocean Agency | Richard Vevers | | +1 717 571 6671

UNESCO's Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission | Vinicius Lindoso | | +33 (0)1 45 68 11 70



About the UN Decade of Ocean Science for Sustainable Development (2021-2030)

Proclaimed in 2017 by the United Nations General Assembly, the UN Decade of Ocean Science for Sustainable Development (2021-2030) (‘the Ocean Decade’) seeks to stimulate ocean science and knowledge generation to reverse the decline of the state of the ocean system and catalyse new opportunities for sustainable development of this massive marine ecosystem. The vision of the Ocean Decade is ‘the science we need for the ocean we want’. The Ocean Decade provides a convening framework for scientists and stakeholders from diverse sectors to develop the scientific knowledge and the partnerships needed to accelerate and harness advances in ocean science to achieve a better understanding of the ocean system and deliver science-based solutions to achieve the 2030 Agenda. The UN General Assembly mandated UNESCO's Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission (IOC) to coordinate the preparations and implementation of the Decade. For more information, visit

About the Ocean Agency

The Ocean Agency is a US nonprofit with a unique approach to ocean conservation - supporting and accelerating action through creative communication and powerful collaboration. The agency’s efforts include creating the Netflix Original Documentary, Chasing Coral – winner of the 2018 Emmy for Outstanding Nature Documentary, bringing Google Street View underwater, and completing the XL Catlin Seaview Survey – the most comprehensive underwater photographic survey and record of coral reefs with over 1 million images captured and analyzed. For more information, visit

About the UNESCO’s IOC

The Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission of UNESCO (IOC-UNESCO) promotes international cooperation in marine sciences to improve management of the ocean, coasts and marine resources. The IOC enables its 150 Member States to work together by coordinating programmes in capacity development, ocean observations and services, ocean science and tsunami warning. The work of the IOC contributes to the mission of UNESCO to promote the advancement of science and its applications to develop knowledge and capacity, key to economic and social progress, the basis of peace and sustainable development. For more information, visit