The oceans may seem endless, inexhaustible and indestructible but the truth is they are in serious trouble.
We’ve already lost half our coral reefs and mangroves − some of the most productive habitats on Earth. And we’ve pushed many crucial fish stocks to the point of collapse, threatening people’s livelihoods and food security – and harming other species including seabirds, turtles and dolphins.
Coastal areas are more densely populated than anywhere else on Earth and are where some of the most valuable natural resources are found. So it’s no surprise this is where the problems are most acute. And the loss of reefs, mangroves and seagrass beds leaves coastal communities vulnerable to erosion, storm damage and food shortages.
Pollution – from plastics to oil spills to agrochemicals – also harms nature and contaminates food chains. And climate change is making the ocean hotter and more acidic, which could spell disaster for coral reefs, polar regions and the rich variety of life they support.