Oceans & Seas

Oceans and seas play a vital role in the context of Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) as they significantly contribute to the Earth's biosphere's health and the global economy. They are critical to sustaining life on earth, acting as a major source of food and oxygen while also serving as natural carbon sinks that mitigate climate change impacts. SDG 14, "Life Below Water," explicitly acknowledges the importance of conservation and the sustainable use of the world's oceans, seas, and marine resources.

Oceans absorb about 30% of carbon dioxide produced by humans, buffering the impacts of global warming. However, this process has implications such as ocean acidification, negatively impacting marine biodiversity and ecosystems. These impacts, coupled with unsustainable fishing practices and pollution, threaten the health of our oceans and seas. SDG 14 sets targets to prevent and reduce marine pollution of all kinds, sustainably manage and protect marine and coastal ecosystems, and regulate harvesting and end overfishing to restore fish stocks to sustainable levels.

Oceans also support economic wellbeing. Over three billion people depend on marine and coastal biodiversity for their livelihoods. By protecting oceanic ecosystems, the SDGs also support SDG 1, "No Poverty," and SDG 8, "Decent Work and Economic Growth." Furthermore, the oceanic routes are critical for global trade, supporting SDG 9, "Industry, Innovation, and Infrastructure."

Furthermore, by implementing strategies for cleaner and more sustainable use of oceans and seas, it can also contribute to SDG 13, "Climate Action." For instance, developing and implementing new technologies to harness energy from waves and tides can promote renewable energy usage and reduce reliance on fossil fuels, aligning with SDG 7, "Affordable and Clean Energy."

Does humanity's future lie in the ocean? As demand for resources continues to grow and land-based sources decline, expectations for the ocean as an engine of human development are increasing. Claiming marine resources and space is not new to humanity, but the extent, intensity, and diversity of today's aspirations are unprecedented. We describe this as the blue acceleration—a race among diverse and often competing interests for ocean food, material, and space.
The unprecedented global heatwave of 2014–2017 was a defining event for many ecosystems. Widespread degradation caused by coral bleaching, for example, highlighted the vulnerability of hundreds of millions of people dependent on reefs for their livelihoods, well-being, and food security. Scientists and policy makers are now reassessing long-held assumptions about coping with anthropogenic climate change, particularly the assumption that strong local institutions can maintain ecological and social resilience through ecosystem-based management, adaptation, and restoration.
Biodiversity is in rapid decline, largely driven by habitat loss and degradation. Protected area establishment and management are widely used to maintain habitats and species in perpetuity. Protected area extent has increased rapidly in recent years with area-based targets set within international conservation agreements such as the Convention on Biological Diversity's Aichi Target 11.
Approximately 70% of the aquatic-based production of animals is fed aquaculture, whereby animals are provided with high-protein aquafeeds. Currently, aquafeeds are reliant on fish meal and fish oil sourced from wild-captured forage fish. However, increasing use of forage fish is unsustainable and, because an additional 37.4 million tons of aquafeeds will be required by 2025, alternative protein sources are needed.
Conservation of biodiversity and ecosystem services in natural environments requires careful management choices. However, common methods of evaluating the impact of conservation interventions can have contextual shortcomings. Here, we make a call for counterfactual thinking—asking the question “what would have happened in the absence of an intervention?”—with the support of rigorous evaluation approaches and more thoughtful consideration of human dimensions and behavior.
Elsevier, TrAC - Trends in Analytical Chemistry, Volume 116, July 2019
For seventy years, mass plastic production and waste mismanagement have resulted in huge pollution of the environment, including the marine environment. The first mention of seafood contaminated by microplastics was recorded in the seventies, and to date numerous studies have been carried out on shellfish, fish and crustaceans. Based on an ad hoc corpus, the current review aims to report on the numerous practices and methodologies described so far.

This collection of articles focusses on SDG 14 (life below water). Every coastal State, including several members of G20, face threats to marine ecosystems and the environment as complex societal, economic and governance challenges. Ocean management involves multi-disciplinary science and complex issues of policy design, while implementation demands consultative decision making and long term capacity development.

This report explores the role of business in securing a healthy, productive and well-governed ocean, contributing to SDGs 12, 13 and 14. Private sector innovation and investment, together with strong public and private governance frameworks, could exponentially increase the amount of sustainable resources delivered from the ocean, including healthy food, secure and affordable clean energy, and more efficient and lower-carbon transport.
PET is a ubiquitous material because of its robust properties. Today, less than 30% of PET bottles and few carpets are recycled in the United States, leading to the majority of PET being landfilled. The low PET reclamation rate is due to the fact that PET bottle recycling today is mechanical, resulting in a devalued product. Here, reclaimed PET (rPET) bottles are converted to fiberglass-reinforced plastics (FRPs), which sell for more than twice that of rPET. When monomers derivable from biomass are incorporated, rPET-FRPs with superior properties are achieved.
Elsevier, Ocean and Coastal Management, Volume 171, 1 April 2019