The United Nations World Oceans Day Photo Competition 2023

The United Nations World Oceans Day Photo Competition 2023

The United Nations World Oceans Day Photo Competition 2023

The United Nations World Oceans Day Photo Competition is an annual event that aims to highlight the importance of the ocean and raise awareness about the threats it faces. The competition is open to both professional and amateur photographers from all around the world. The United Nations World Oceans Day Photo Competition serves as a powerful reminder of the importance of protecting our oceans and encourages individuals to take action to reduce their impact on marine environments. The United Nations World Oceans Day Photo Competition 2023

In 2008, the United Nations General Assembly decided that, as of 2009, June 8th would be designated by the United Nations as “World Oceans Day”. We recognize that our oceans are essential to securing food and the survival of all life on planet Earth. They power our climate and they are a critical part of the biosphere. The competition encourages participants to submit photographs that showcase the beauty and importance of the ocean, as well as the human impact on marine environments. Some of the themes of the competition may include ocean wildlife, ocean landscapes, human interactions with the ocean, and the impact of climate change on the ocean.

World Oceans Day encourages you to make a difference in your life, in your community, and in the world by taking action to protect our ocean—for present and future generations. Despite the huge challenges facing the world’s oceans such as plastic pollution, overfishing, and climate change, by working together we can achieve a healthier ocean that will provide for the billions of humans, plants, and animals that depend on it every day. The United Nations World Oceans Day Photo Competition 2023

The competition is usually launched a few months before World Oceans Day, which is celebrated annually on June 8th. Winners of the competition are announced on World Oceans Day, and their photographs are featured on the official World Oceans Day website and social media channels.

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Photography is a powerful medium to convey a feeling or a message. This open and free photo competition seeks to inspire the creation of imagery capturing the beauty, the challenges, and the importance of the ocean and humankind’s relation to it, hoping to contribute to actions to preserve this vital resource.

The photo competition has six thematic categories open for submissions:

  1. No Time to Waste
    • Both human and naturally inflicted stressors on the ocean are driving the urgent need for stakeholder action. From out-of-control algal blooms to red tides and discarded fishing gear, images of damage inflicted on the ocean, or how ocean stressors are being mitigated/solved. Submissions for this category require a set of three images
  2. Putting the Ocean First
    • Exploration, discoveries, and initiatives prioritizing the health of the ocean for now and for the future, including innovation and sustainable solutions
  3. The Wonderful World of Tides
    • Images that explore the wonderful worlds of tides, and how nature adapts to changing environments, are evident in tides and their daily (as well as sometimes multi-daily) rise and fall. Tides are a thin line between land and ocean that provide images topside or underwater, macro or wide angle
  4. Ocean Is Life
    • From seagrass creating oxygen to sustainable fisheries providing food. This category captures the known, the unknown, and the overlooked. Any image depicting the connection of the ocean to sustaining all life on Earth. Oceans as a lifeline
  5. Big and Small Underwater Faces
    • Portraits of marine life underwater that feature faces big and/or small to help personalize the world beneath the waves
  6. Underwater Seascapes
    • Awe-inspiring underwater seascapes of the ocean’s splendors, from life in the ocean to ecosystems and exchanges we don’t typically see, anything that inspires beauty, promise, or potential. A minimum of 50% should be taken underwater, also allowing half-above-water and half-below-water shots.


  • Winning images will be recognized at the United Nations on June 8th during the United Nations event marking World Oceans Day 2023.
  • Recognition and diffusion of the winning images and finalists will be widely exposed throughout the contest websites, the media, and the informational materials related to subsequent competitions. Winning photos have been printed for exhibitions around the world.

Entries must be submitted electronically in accordance with the contest guidelines and subject to the contest rules.

Application Deadline:  April 23rd, 2023 at 12 midnight Eastern Standard Time (EST).

The United Nations World Oceans Day Photo Competition 2023

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