The Ocean and Us

Sustainable Use of the Oceans SDG 14: Conserve and sustainably use the oceans, seas and marine resources for sustainable development Marine and coastal ecosystem services provide a bounty of provisions for achieving SDGs, but there are sustainable limits. We must conserve and sustainably use our oceans (SDG14 conserve and sustainably use the oceans, seas and marine resources for sustainable development ). Marine ecosystems face a wide range of threats including land and marine based pollution, eutrophication, infrastructure development (leading to habitat loss and degradation), sedimentation, overfishing, hypoxia (de-oxygenation), invasive species, acidification and changes in temperature, currents and sea level (Brander, 2007; Turley et al., 2013; Noone et al. 2014). The population of phytoplankton has varied through time and space, and may now be declining noticeably in parts of the ocean (Boyce, 2010). Marine pollutants include agricultural fertilizers, untreated wastewater, toxins, litter and oil. These threats have a variety of negative impacts on marine ecosystems and their services.

Marine Protected Areas Marine protected areas (MPAs) have been advanced as potential means of conserving coastal and marine areas. An MPA is a clearly defined geographical space, recognised, dedicated and managed, through legal or other effective means, to achieve the long-term conservation of nature and the associated ecosystem services and cultural values (IUCN-WCPA, 2008). When well designed and managed, MPAs allow for the protection and restoration of key habitats, the replenishment of fish stocks and an enhancement of the resilience of marine ecosystems. The expansion of MPA coverage is expected to enhance the provision of marine ecosystem services. A recent study estimates that the economic benefits of reaching 10 per cent coverage globally by 2020 are in the range of USD 622–923 billion for the period 2020–2050 (Brander et al., 2015). Currently, only 3.4 per cent of the global marine area is designated as an MPA, with 0.59 per cent established as no-take MPAs.

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