Oceans Survey

This publication is the result of an extensive evaluation of marine and coastal policies worldwide. By highlighting case studies and different approaches it serves as a toolkit to policy makers and experts to learn from already existing sustainable solutions for oceans and coasts.

Safeguarding our oceans and coasts

Oceans cover 71 per cent of the Earth’s surface and contain 90 per cent of the Earth’s biomass. The marine environment provides humanity with many goods and services, including half of the oxygen we breathe. However, it is under severe stress from the compounding pressures of overfishing, land-based and offshore pollution, ocean acidification and global climate change.

© Ian Shive

Sustainable management of the oceans and coasts is a major political concern, and there are a vast number of initiatives, policies and projects at all levels of governance to achieve this. There is an urgent need for effective implementation of international agreements, supported by regional, national and local policies and laws to safeguard the world’s oceans and coasts.

We have divided the types of marine policies into the following categories:

In addition, there are legal principles that can protect the rights of future generations, and is of particular relevance to the marine environment:

Legal principles: the Public Trust Doctrine

The presented policies have the potential to provide a roadmap for the implementation of commitments by other regions, and national and local governments. Furthermore, we have compiled a list of key messages for decision makers derived from the nominated policies.