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Natural Products: Oceans In Focus

Hymas Beach, New South Wales, Australia. From seashells and kelp to aquarium fish, non-food marine resources are essential ingredients in a wide range of natural products that fuel local economies and international trade.
Towering kelp forest near Monterey Bay, California. A substance called algin can be extracted from kelp and used as a thickening and gelling agent in toothpastes, shampoos, salad dressings, puddings, dairy products, cosmetics, and paint.
Monterey Bay, California.  Kelp bulbs that are called pneumatocysts act as buoys to lift the kelp closer to the surface.  Kelp can also be fermented into ethanol for the production of bio fuels.
School of fish, Raja Ampat, Indonesia.  Fish oil is rich in omega-3 fatty acids, and used as a dietary supplement to boost cardiovascular health.    
Sea sponge from Solomon Islands. Sponges are providing medical scientists with a treasure trove of new chemicals to treat disease. More than 5300 different products are derived from sponges and used to combat inflammation, cancer, viruses, protozoans, and fungi.
A seaweed farmer harvests his bounty on the coastline of Indonesia. Seaweed is used as a thickening agent, like kelp, and is also enjoyed in dishes like sushi. 
Clownfish in the Philippines. Fifteen to twenty million marine fish are collected annually for the aquarium market from Australia, Hawaii, Indonesia and the Philippines.  Eighty percent of these fish end up in the United States.
Lionfish from Raja Ampat, Indonesia. The lionfish is a popular species in the aquaria trade. Unfortunately, its popularity has resulted in its accidental release in the Caribbean and Atlantic, where it has no natural predators.
Regal Demoiselle, native to the waters of the Indo-West Pacific. In addition to tropical fish, hobbyists in recent years have turned to crustaceans, mollusks, and corals to decorate their tanks.
Giant clam from the Turtle Islands, Philippines.  The giant clam is another species favored by both aquarium hobbyists and shell collectors, but over harvest of the clam has diminished its numbers.  It is now protected under CITES.
Giant clam aquaculture in the Solomon Islands.  The good news is that carefully-managed aquaculture can help alleviate the pressure on many species for the aquarium trade.
Sponge mariculture in the Solomon Islands. Different aquaculture methods are being developed to provide a more sustainable supply of natural sponges.