Out of the Blue was a photography competition launched on World Oceans Day 2015 by His Royal Highness The Prince of Wales and was a collaboration between the Royal Commonwealth Society, The Prince of Wales's International Sustainability Unit (ISU) and National Geographic. Out of the Blue sought to showcase the importance of our marine environment, the value it brings and the threat it is facing. 

The competition highlighted that our oceans are host to the vast majority of life on this planet and hold some of our most diverse ecosystems. Throughout history, they have moved and inspired us with their beauty and supported us with their bounty - after all, ocean life produces half of the world's oxygen and enough fish to feed millions of people. But our oceans are under threat: climate change, over-fishing, habitat destruction on an epic scale and pollution of all kinds are jeopardising the health of our oceans and their ability to provide for us.

A vast area of our global ocean lies within the jurisdiction of Commonwealth countries. Out of the Blue sought to showcase the value of the Commonwealth's 'Blue' capital and the human life it supports. 

Good pictures can tell stories in ways that words sometimes cannot and 'Out of the Blue' inspired many Commonwealth citizens to explore the marine environment around them and submit photographs that celebrate its beauty, highlight its importance and alert global leaders to its vulnerability. By submitting entries Commonwealth citizens helped encourage global leaders to take positive action and adopt more of the solutions that we know are at hand to protect and use natural resources in a more sustainable way. 

The winning photographs were exhibited in Malta in the margins of the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting in November 2015 with the awards presented by His Royal Highness The Prince of Wales. 

Banner photo: Breath of Fresh Air, Bahamas by Ashley Wee