The Ocean and Us

Healthy Lives, Human Well-being and Sustainable Industrialization SDG3: Ensure healthy lives and promote well-being for all at all ages SDG9: Build resilient infrastructure, promote inclusive and sustainable industrialization and foster innovation As discussed above, marine and coastal ecosystems help ensuring healthy lives by providing high-value protein and essential micronutrients, minerals and fatty acids to people’s diets, often at very significant levels. Recreation and Relaxation Marine and coastal habitats also promote well-being (SDG3 Ensure healthy lives and promote well-being for all at all ages) through opportunities for recreation and relaxation distinct to coastal and marine ecosystems. Recreation improves physical and mental health, and there is evidence that people who immerse themselves in natural areas enjoy a variety of psychological, emotional and mental health benefits, reduced stress and increased quality of life (UKNEA, 2011). Raw Materials and Future Innovation A range of natural marine compounds have been found to have important properties (e.g. anti-oxidant, anti-fungal, anti- viral, anti-biotic, anti-cancer, anti-degenerative) that may be useful in a wide number of medical and cosmetic applications (SDG9 promote inclusive and sustainable industrialization and foster innovation ). Marine compounds are already used in the treatment of HIV, herpes, and cancer (Arico and Salpin 2005; Leary 2008; Lloyd-Evans 2005 a,b). Marine genes are used, among other applications, in the production of ethanol from corn (Vierros and Arico, 2011), in detergent, and in the tenderisation of meat (Arrieta et al 2010). The number of marine compounds and genes discovered is increasing extremely rapidly, as are their associated industries.

Marine genetic diversity and human health

20 000

6 000

Accumulated number of unique gene sequences of marine origin

natural products described

15 000

4 000

10 000

2 000

distinct sequences patented

5 000

0 60 %of patents Accumulated number of marine natural products 1980 1990 20 40









Food industry

Human health



Genetic engineering

Molecular and cell biology

Agriculture and aquaculture

Source: Arrieta, Arnaud-Haond & Duarte, What lies underneath: Conserving the oceans’ genetic resources , 2010

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