There is growing reliance on the seas for resources. Over 3 billion people depend on marine biodiversity for their livelihoods and the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development projects the ocean economy will double to around $3 trillion by 2030.
For the UK, it is estimated that the marine sector is worth around £47 billion gross value added, with strong growth predicted in offshore renewables and aquaculture sectors. At the same time, the marine environment is under increasing pressure from stressors such as warming, acidification, overfishing and pollution. Our coastal environments are also at increasing risk from sea-level rise and severe weather events and a reduction in the natural protection provided by, for example, beaches and seagrass beds.
This is a transformative period for the UK marine landscape, with opportunities and challenges arising from changing international governance, the drive to increase economic activity, and changing climate. Healthy oceans and seas promote economic, social and environmental prosperity, and support coastal communities, jobs, livelihoods and food security. In order to fully capitalise on these opportunities, it is necessary to develop transparent and public accounting of the benefits, goods and services that the ocean provides, and to identify and assess policy gaps, needs and best practices.