Underwater life

The oceans cover three-quarters of the Earth's surface, contain 97 per cent of the planet's water and account for 99 per cent of the planet's habitable surface by volume.

The ocean drives the global systems that make the Earth habitable for humans. Our rain, drinking water, weather, climate, coastlines, much of our food and even the oxygen in the air we breathe is provided and regulated by the sea.

Careful management of this essential global resource is a key feature of a sustainable future. However, at present, there is a continuing deterioration of coastal waters due to pollution and ocean acidification which is having an adverse effect on ecosystem functioning and biodiversity. It is also having a detrimental impact on small-scale fisheries.

Protecting our oceans must remain a priority. Marine biodiversity is vital to the health of people and our planet. Marine protected areas must be managed effectively, as must their resources, and regulations must be put in place to reduce overfishing, marine pollution and ocean acidification.