The ocean is the largest ecosystem on earth, our primary life support system providing us with over 70 percent of the oxygen that we breathe. The Ocean Photography Awards don’t just present stunning images of the big blue sea; the awards remind us of the bigger picture, of our responsibility to protect our oceans.

The Ocean Photography Awards celebrate our planet and provide a platform for photographers and artists to tell stories about this ecosystem the dangers it is facing. Here are this year’s winners of the Ocean Photography Awards 2021.

Ocean Photographer of the Year

Winner: Aimee Jan

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Photo: Aimee Jan/Ocean Photography Awards


A green turtle, surrounded by glass fish. “I was out snorkelling when one of my colleagues told me there was a turtle under a ledge in a school of glass fish, about 10 metres down,” says photographer Aimee Jan. “When I dived down to look, the fish separated around the turtle perfectly. I said to her: ‘I think I just took the best photo I have ever taken’.”

Adventure Photographer of the Year

Winner: Ben Thouard

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Photo: Ben Thouard/Ocean Photography Awards


Surfer Matahi Drollet catches a wave known as Teahupo’o in Tahiti.

Collective Portfolio Award

Winner:Stefan Christmann

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Photo: Stefan Christmann/Ocean Photography Awards


Two emperor penguin fathers meet on the sea ice, showing their offspring.

Community Choice Award

Winner: Phil de Glanville

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Photo: Phil de Glanville/Ocean Photography Awards


Surfer Jack Robinson rides the famous break known as ‘The Right’, home to some of the heaviest waves in the world.

Conservation Photographer of the Year

WINNER: Kerim Sabuncuoglu

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Photo: Kerim Sabuncuoglu/Ocean Photography Awards


A dead moray eel on an abandoned fishing line.

Exploration Photographer of the Year

WINNER: Martin Broen

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Photo: Martin Broen/Ocean Photography Awards


Speleothems cast long shadows at cenote Dos Pisos.

Female Fifty Fathoms Award

WINNER :Renee Capozzola

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Photo: Renee Capozzola/Ocean Photography Awards


A lone blacktip reef shark lines up its dorsal fin with the setting sun in Moorea, French Polynesia. “This over-under image was achieved by using a wide-angle lens, a large dome port and strobe flash to illuminate the underwater portion of the picture,” says photographer Renee Capozzola. “Sharks are plentiful in French Polynesia due to their strong legal protections and are a sign of a healthy marine ecosystem.”

Young Photographer of the Year

WINNER: Hannah Le Leu

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Photo: Hannah Le Leu/Ocean Photography Awards


A green sea turtle hatchling cautiously surfaces for air, to a sky full of hungry birds.