The impending threat that marine life, oceans, and seas are currently facing is primarily caused by the persisting impact of humans. The threats of pollution, warming water temperatures, acidification, and collapsed marine ecosystems from overfishing have warranted an imminent response from humans to adapt a sustainable footprint when dealing with any water resource. According to the UN as of 2021, more than three billion people rely on oceans for their livelihood and more than 80% of world merchandise trade is transported on water. For humans to continue depending on these marine resources, accelerated action toward protecting and sustaining them to support centuries of use is urgently required. This would involve multiple facets of conservation including protecting marine life and their environments, investing in the study and support of ocean science, supporting small-scale fishing communities, condemning large-scale fishing, and the overall sustainable management of the oceans, seas, and any marine resource.
To put into perspective how important oceans are to human life—they generate half of the oxygen we breathe. Just like we do, the earth relies on its oceans. Without healthy oceans, the earth could not function as one healthy body. Global trends are showing a continued deterioration of coastal waters and biodiversity. In order to continue reaping the benefits our oceans provide, an efficiently managed marine protection initiative must be taken promptly by everyone.
Targets & Indicators
When the UN General Assembly introduced the Sustainable Development Goals in 2015, they listed the targets that needed to meet for each goal. These targets break down what needs to be achieved to consider the goal completed. The UN Statistical Commission created the IAEG (International Agency and Expert Group) in 2017, which was tasked with creating the “indicators” for each target. These indicators were created to put measures in place to track the process being made on each target.
Targets and indicators were developed by the UN as a working blueprint for nations, organizations, and people to use when implementing SDGs in their everyday actions. Looking to the targets for the respected goal is the best way to execute the use of them in your work.
14.1By 2025, prevent and significantly reduce marine pollution such as nutrient pollution and marine debris, especially from land-based activities.
- 14.1.1 Index of Coastal Eutrophication and Plastic Debris Density
14.2By 2020, sustainably manage and protect marine and coastal ecosystems to avoid significant adverse impacts. This includes strengthening their resilience, taking action for their restoration, and ultimately achieving healthy and productive oceans.
- 14.2.1 Number of Countries Using Ecosystem-Based Approaches to Managing Marine Areas
14.3Minimize and address the impacts of ocean acidification, including through enhanced scientific cooperation at all levels.
- 14.3.1 Average Marine Acidity (Ph) Measured at Agreed Suite of Representative Sampling Stations
14.4By 2020, effectively regulate harvesting and end overfishing, illegal, unreported, and unregulated fishing, and destructive fishing practices. Also, implement science-based management plans to restore fish stock in the shortest time feasible, at least to levels that can produce maximum sustainable yield as determined by their biological characteristics.
- 14.4.1 Proportion of Fish Stocks Within Biologically Sustainable Levels
14.5By 2020, conserve at least 10 percent of coastal and marine areas, consistent with national and international law and based on the best available scientific information.
- 14.5.1 Coverage of Protected Areas in Relation to Marine Areas
14.6By 2020, prohibit certain forms of fisheries subsidies, which contribute to overcapacity and overfishing, eliminate subsidies that contribute to illegal, unreported, and unregulated fishing, and refrain from introducing new such subsidies, recognizing that appropriate and effective differential treatment for countries should be an integral part of the World Trade Organization fisheries subsidies negotiation.
- 14.6.1 Degree of Implementation of International Instruments Aiming to Combat Illegal, Unreported, and Unregulated Fishing
14.7By 2030, increase the economic benefits to small island states and least-developed countries from the sustainable use of marine resources, including through sustainable management of fisheries, aquaculture, and tourism.
- 14.7.1 Sustainable Fisheries as a Proportion of GDP in Small Island Developing States, Least-Developed Countries, and All Countries
14.aIncrease scientific knowledge, develop research capacity, and transfer marine technology, taking into account the Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission Criteria and Guidelines on the Transfer of Marine Technology, to improve ocean health and enhance the contribution of marine biodiversity.
- 14.a.1 Proportion of Total Research Budget Allocated to Research in the Field of Marine Technology
14.bProvide access for small-scale artisanal fishers to marine resources and markets.
- 14.b.1 Degree of Application of a Legal/Regulatory/Policy/Institutional Framework Which Recognizes and Protects Access Rights for Small‐Scale Fisheries
14.cEnhance the conservation and sustainable use of oceans and their resources by implementing international law as reflected in UNCLOS, which provides the legal framework for the conservation and sustainable use of oceans and their resources.
- 14.c.1 Number of Countries Making Progress in Ratifying, Accepting, and Implementing Ocean-Related Instruments That Meet International Law, as Reflected in the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea, for the Conservation and Sustainable Use of the Oceans and Their Resources