Goal 14: Conserve and sustainably use the oceans, seas and marine resources

Our oceans — their temperature, circulation, chemistry, and ecosystems — play a fundamental role in making Earth habitable.

Our rainwater, drinking water, weather, climate, coastlines, much of our food, and even the oxygen in the air we breathe, are all ultimately provided and regulated by the sea. Throughout history, oceans and seas have been vital conduits for trade and transportation. Careful management of this essential global resource is a key feature of a sustainable future.

Target 14.4

By 2020, effectively regulate harvesting and end overfishing, illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing and destructive fishing practices.

Fish and seafood is a primary source of income, and nutrition for many across the world. However, overfishing and poorly regulated, illegal and destructive practices have had a major impact on fish stocks in all oceans.

Protecting fish stocks and ensuring sustainable seafood production requires effective regulation and limits on harvesting rates. The charts below provide data on the rates of overfishing across the world. Further data on seafood production can be found at our entry on Meat & Seafood Production & Consumption.

Target 14.5

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.

Particular marine areas — specifically those of special scientific interest and high biodiversity — are often reserved and protected within national and international law. The chart below shows the share of territorial waters which are reserved for this protection. Also shown is the distribution of ecologically threatened fish species across the world.