How Big Is 2% Of The Ocean?

It’s easy to forget that the earth is mostly water.

2 min readDec 16, 2020

--

Often, we are never exposed to more of the ocean than what’s visible from the local beach. It’s so easy to forget that the earth is mostly blue.

With 71% of the earth covered in water, it begs the question, can we leverage the size and scale of our oceans to help improve some of humanities woes?

In our latest podcast, Masters of Future Technology student Louis Gordon dives deep into the future of blue carbon. During the discussion, he made an interesting point. He suggested that utilising just 2% of the world's oceans for aquaculture could see up to 12 billion people feed.

It’s a cool statistic but it raises plenty of questions. Most practical of which is just how big an area is 2% of the ocean?

A quick google suggests the area of the worlds ocean’s is approximately 362 million km2. This means that 2% is roughly 7.2 million km2.

That’s big, but it doesn’t really mean much without context.

So, for context (and a bit of fun) let's look at this.

The land area of New Zealand is 268 thousand km2, so 2% of the world's oceans is roughly equivalent to 27 New Zealand's.

We can go bigger.

The land area of Texas is 695 thousand km2, so 2% of the world’s oceans is roughly equivalent to 10 Texas’s.

We can go bigger still.

The land area of the USA 9.8 million km2, so 2% of the world’s oceans is roughly equivalent to 75% of the continental USA.

That’s big!

It’s an interesting thought. While we don’t need to feed 12 billion people (yet) nor do we suggested that it would be a good idea to convert 2% of the world's oceans into seaweed farms, what this thought experiment demonstrates is the scale of the ocean and thus the potential of ocean-based aquaculture in helping reduce the burden on our land-based food production.

It’s an idea we explore on the latest episode of the SUPERTILT podcast, whilst covering New Zealand's poor climate record and what we can do to fix this.

--

--

Aidan Kenealy

Professional startup advisor for founders of high growth startups. More details @ https://aidankenealy.com/