GEO-6 Chapter 7: Oceans and Coasts

3. To meet future challenges of food security and healthy populations, in addition to using all natural products harvested for food more efficiently, more fish, invertebrates and marine plants will have to be taken as food from the oceans and coasts, so both capture fisheries and mariculture must expand while preserving sustainability. It is possible to keep capture fisheries sustainable, but this requires significant investments in monitoring, assessment and management (at national, regional and international levels) and/or strong local community-based approaches. Sustainable mariculture requires knowledge and care in management of operations. Without sound bases in knowledge and governance of fisheries and mariculture, patterns of overexploitation, environmental damage and resource depletion are likely, and neither food security nor health goals will be met.

2. Marine litter has been found across all oceans and at all depths. Micro- and nano-plastics are now documented in the food web, including in seafoods consumed by humans. Marine litter has increased, with an estimated 8 million tons per year of plastics entering the ocean, mainly from land-based sources. If nations do not take action to prevent litter from entering the ocean, it will continue to accumulate and compromise ecosystem health and human food security. Prevention involves ensuring recovery and recycling of all used plastic products, encouraging communities to reduce the volume of rubbish generated, and improving solid waste management and wastewater treatment. Cleaning up the oceans is not a sustainable option without action to stop litter from entering the oceans.



State of the Global Environment

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