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Marine Citizen Science: Towards an engaged and ocean literate society (policy brief)

Marine Citizen Science is an area which is rapidly gaining interest, and it’s easy to see why. Citizen Science is where scientists and the general public collaborate to co-generate greater knowledge and understanding of the natural world. For the marine environment, the applications are as varied as the ocean itself. Involving the general public in marine scientific research can bring the vast ocean closer to home, explaining its wonders and raising awareness of the challenges it faces, making Marine Citizen Science a powerful tool in striving for a truly ocean literate society. The wide variety of data amenable to Marine Citizen Science, along with advances in technology, also mean that there is a project for everyone. More than just as a means for education, Citizen Science is also a means to empowerment. Co-operation between science and society can enable the collection and analysis of data on much larger scales of time, space and sheer numbers than would be possible for science alone. This is turn can provide a concrete scientific basis of evidence which can inform and guide marine policy to truly make a difference.

This policy brief answers the question “Why Marine Citizen Science?”, and presents the wide scope of applications in marine science research. It also looks at future opportunities with regard to the use of technology, as well as highlighting the potential for Marine Citizen Science to be a tool for marine policy. It finishes by presenting recommendations going forward, as both short- and long-term action areas, to ensure that Marine Citizen Science can continue to progress in Europe.

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