World Ocean(s) Day: June 8th



The World Ocean Day initiative was initially conceived by Canada’s International Centre for Ocean Development (Halifax, NS) in 1991. It was officially launched in 1992, in partnership with the Ocean Institute of Canada, on behalf of the Government of Canada, at the United Nations Conference on Environment and Development in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. After a four-year onsite and online petition drive generating tens of thousands of signatures from dozens of countries, in December 2008 the United Nations General Assembly passed a resolution officially recognizing June 8 as an international day of celebration.

Learn more about the mission and history of World Ocean Day here. You can also read Carol Amaratunga’s article (2019) in the Journal of Ocean Technology

What’s the difference between World Ocean Day and World Oceans Day?

World Ocean Day, initiated in 2002, is coordinated by The Ocean Project, a U.S.-based organization. It is aimed at supporting event organizers like aquariums, zoos, museums, and youth-focused groups. The Ocean Project’s efforts aim to enhance global understanding of the ocean and its conservation and protection.


World Oceans Day was officially designated by the United Nations on June 8th in 2008, with Canada playing a leading role in its establishment. World Oceans Day serves as a global platform to raise public awareness about the essential role oceans play in our lives and the necessity of sustainable practices.


If you are registering an event for Ocean Week Canada, you can also register your event on the World Ocean Day site. Share your event with Canadians AND the world!

Ocean Week Canada actively collaborates with both initiatives. Ocean Week Canada promotes and uses ‘Ocean’ (#DropTheS).

Language use

Why Ocean Week Canada, not Oceans Week Canada?

The use of “Ocean Week Canada” instead of “Oceans Week Canada” is based on the fact that there is only one interconnected global ocean, despite the different names given to its basins.

By using the singular form of “ocean”, it emphasizes the interconnectedness of this essential resource and helps people focus on the linkages between marine (and freshwater) ecosystems and the impact of human activities. We become more aware of how our local choices and decisions have global impacts. This approach encourages people to take action to protect and preserve the ocean as a shared resource for all living things.

We encourage event hosts and partners to use the singular of ‘ocean’ for both World Ocean Day and Ocean Week Canada.

Why don’t we say ‘our’ ocean?

Referring to the ocean as “our” ocean can be problematic as it implies human ownership over a natural entity. Recognizing the ocean as a living ecosystem, with its own rights, is imperative. It is our collective responsibility to manage our behaviours in ways that are in the best interest of the ocean, which in turn will provide for humanity and all living beings for generations to come.

We encourage event hosts and partners to avoid the use of the possessive ‘our’ when referring to the ocean/local waterways.