Thursday, February 1, 2018

Goal 14: Conserve and sustainably use the oceans, seas and marine resources for sustainable development

Oceans cover almost three quarters of the planet, comprising the largest ecosystem on earth. The increasingly adverse impacts of climate change (including ocean acidification), overfishing and marine pollution are jeopardizing recent gains in protecting portions of the world’s oceans.

  •  In 2017, protected areas cover 13.2 per cent of the marine environment under national jurisdiction, 0.25 per cent of the marine environment beyond national jurisdiction, and 5.3 per cent of the total global ocean area. The average coverage of marine key biodiversity areas (KBAs) by protected areas has risen from 32 per cent in 2000 to 45 per cent in 2017. 
  •  The proportion of marine fish stocks worldwide that have been overfished—that is, are at biologically unsustainable levels—increased from 10 per cent in 1974 to 31 per cent in 2013. 
  • Oceans absorb up to 30 per cent of the annual emissions of CO2 generated by human activity. However, the absorbed CO2 also leads to an increase in the acidity of seawater, which weakens the shells and skeletons of many marine species, such as corals.  As atmospheric CO2 levels rise, estimates indicate that oceans could be nearly 150 per cent more acidic by 2100.
  •  Of the 63 large marine ecosystems evaluated under the Transboundary Waters Assessment Programme, 16 per cent are in the “high” or “highest” risk categories for coastal eutrophication. By 2050, it is estimated that coastal eutrophication will increase in 21 per cent of these large ecosystems.


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