Targets and Indicators
By 2025, prevent and significantly reduce marine pollution of all kinds, in particular from land-based activities, including marine debris and nutrient pollution
Index of coastal eutrophication and floating plastic debris density
By 2020, sustainably manage and protect marine and coastal ecosystems to avoid significant adverse impacts, including by strengthening their resilience, and take action for their restoration in order to achieve healthy and productive oceans
Proportion of national exclusive economic zones managed using ecosystem-based approaches
Minimize and address the impacts of ocean acidification, including through enhanced scientific cooperation at all levels
Average marine acidity (pH) measured at agreed suite of representative sampling stations
By 2020, effectively regulate harvesting and end overfishing, illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing and destructive fishing practices and implement science-based management plans, in order to restore fish stocks in the shortest time feasible, at least to levels that can produce maximum sustainable yield as determined by their biological characteristics
Proportion of fish stocks within biologically sustainable levels
By 2020, conserve at least 10 per cent of coastal and marine areas, consistent with national and international law and based on the best available scientific information
Coverage of protected areas in relation to marine areas
By 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 special and differential treatment for developing and least developed countries should be an integral part of the World Trade Organization fisheries subsidies negotiation
Progress by countries in the degree of implementation of international instruments aiming to combat illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing
By 2030, increase the economic benefits to Small Island developing States and least developed countries from the sustainable use of marine resources, including through sustainable management of fisheries, aquaculture and tourism
Sustainable fisheries as a percentage of GDP in small island developing States, least developed countries and all countries
Increase 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, in order to improve ocean health and to enhance the contribution of marine biodiversity to the development of developing countries, in particular small island developing States and least developed countries
Proportion of total research budget allocated to research in the field of marine technology
Provide access for small-scale artisanal fishers to marine resources and markets
Progress by countries in the degree of application of a legal/regulatory/policy/institutional framework which recognizes and protects access rights for small-scale fisheries
Enhance 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, as recalled in paragraph 158 of The Future We Want
Number of countries making progress in ratifying, accepting and implementing through legal, policy and institutional frameworks, ocean-related instruments that implement international law, as reflected in the United Nation Convention on the Law of the Sea, for the conservation and sustainable use of the oceans and their resources
Progress and Info
More than three billion people rely on the ocean for their livelihoods and more than 80% of world merchandise trade by volume is carried by sea. The vast oceans, seas and marine resources are under continual threat from pollution, warming and acidification that are disrupting marine ecosystems and the communities they support. These changes have longterm repercussions that require urgently scaling up protection of marine environments, investment in ocean science and support for small-scale fishery communities and the sustainable management of the oceans.
While efforts to reduce nutrient inputs into coastal zones are showing success in some regions, algal blooms indicate that coastal eutrophication continues to be a challenge. Globally, chlorophyll-a (the pigment responsible for photosynthesis in all plants and algae) anomalies in country exclusive economic zones decreased by 20% from 2018 to 2020.
Ocean acidification is caused by the uptake of atmospheric CO2 by the ocean, resulting in a decreasing pH and acidification of the ocean, threatening marine organisms and ocean services. A limited set of long-term observation sites in the open ocean have shown a continuous decline in pH over the last 20 to 30 years.
Mean protected area coverage of marine Key Biodiversity Areas increased globally from 28% in 2000 to 44% in 2020. However, there is considerable spatial variation in this progress, with coverage still less than a quarter in Oceania (excluding Australia and New Zealand).
Improved regulations, together with effective monitoring and surveillance, have proven successful in reverting overfished stocks to biologically sustainable levels. However, the adoption of such measures has generally been slow, particularly in many developing countries. In thirteen countries that have active assessment and management systems in place, the proportion of fish stock within biologically sustainable levels is higher than the world average of 65.8% based on data collected in 2019.
Between 2018 and 2020, the average degree of implementation of international instruments to combat illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing has improved across the world, with the global score of a composite measure of the degree of implementation of the five principal instruments rising from 3/5 to 4/5. Close to 75% of States scored highly in their degree of implementation of relevant international instruments in 2020 compared to 70% percent in 2018.
Between 2018 and 2020, the world has made progress in implementing regulatory and institutional frameworks that recognize and protect access rights for small-scale fisheries, with the global score rising from 3/5 to 4/5. At the regional level, Northern Africa and Western Asia reflect this leap, while Central and Southern Asia reduced their regional score from 3/5 to 2/5, highlighting that efforts there need to be redoubled and that there is no room for complacency.
Sustainable fisheries accounted for approximately 0.1% of global GDP in 2017, while in certain regions and in LDCs they contributed to more than 0.5% of GDP. The sustainable management of fish stocks remains critical for ensuring that fisheries continue to generate economic growth and support equitable development. The long-term impact of COVID-19 on fisheries poses significant challenges that threaten to undermine sustainable stock management and profitability.
On average, only 1.2% of national research budgets were allocated for ocean science between 2013 to 2017, with percentages ranging from around 0.03% to 9.5%. This is a small proportion compared to the modestly estimated $1.5 trillion contribution of the ocean to the global economy in 2010.
Overall, many States have ratified or acceded to the 1982 UN Convention on the Law of the Sea (168 parties) and its implementing agreements (150 parties for the 1994 Part XI Agreement and 91 parties for the 1995 UN Fish Stocks Agreement). Many States have implemented these instruments through legal, policy and institutional frameworks, but this remains an area for further progress in several developing countries, in particular LDCs.
Source: Advance unedited copy of 2021 report of the Secretary-General on Progress towards the Sustainable Development Goals