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Goal 14 Life Below Water

Goal 14 Life Below Water

CSO statistical publication, , 11am
 

The CSO, through Ireland's Institute for SDGs (IIS), supports reporting on the Sustainable Development Goals.

Ocean health

Global mean surface seawater acidity

SDG_14_50 shows the global ocean surface acidity expressed as mean pH value. The decline in pH observed on a global scale corresponds to an increase in the acidity of ocean water and vice versa. An increase of atmospheric CO2 enhances the absorption of CO2 by oceans, which correlates directly with a fall in pH values of the oceans. The Copernicus Marine Environment Monitoring Service (CMEMS) provides annual data on mean ocean surface acidity using in situ data and remote sensing data, as well as empirical relationships. See Table 14.1.

Table 14.1 - SDG_14_50 Global mean surface seawater acidity, 2014-2021

Marine waters affected by eutrophication

SDG_14_60 shows the share of eutrophic marine waters in the Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ). An area is classified as eutrophic if for more than 25% of the observation days of a given year the chlorophyll concentrations as a proxy for eutrophication are above the 90th percentile of the 1998–2017 reference base line. Eutrophication is the process by which an excess of nutrients – mainly phosphorus and nitrogen – leads to increased growth of plant material, particularly algal blooms, in an aquatic body resulting in a decrease in water quality. This can, in turn, cause death by hypoxia of aquatic organisms. Anthropogenic activities, such as farming, agriculture, aquaculture, industry and sewage, are the main source of nutrient input in problem areas. The Marine Strategy Framework Directive (MSFD) requires member states to report on eutrophication for their regional seas every 6 years. The Copernicus Marine Service has calculated the indicator from satellite imagery. See Table 14.2.

Table 14.2 - SDG_14_60 Marine waters affected by eutrophication for Ireland, 2022

Bathing sites with excellent water quality

SDG_14_40 measures the number and proportion of coastal and inland bathing sites with excellent water quality. The indicator assessment is based on microbiological parameters (intestinal enterococci and Escherichia coli). The new Bathing Water Directive requires member states to identify and assess the quality of all inland and marine bathing waters and to classify these waters as ‘poor’, ‘sufficient’, ‘good’ or ‘excellent’. See Table 14.3 and Figure 14.1.

Table 14.3 - SDG_14_40 Bathing sites with excellent water quality by locality, 2014-2022

X-axis labelEuropean UnionIreland
201485.874.8
20158772.7
20168871.8
201787.470.7
201888.169.9
201988.471.7
202088.474.1
202188.377
202288.978.4

Sustainable fisheries

Marine protected areas 

SDG_14_10 measures the surface of marine protected areas (MPAs) in EU marine waters. The indicator comprises nationally designated protected areas and Natura 2000 sites. A nationally designated area is an area protected by national legislation. The Natura 2000 network comprises both marine and terrestrial protected areas designated under the EU Habitats and Birds Directives with the goal to maintain or restore a favourable conservation status for habitat types and species of EU interest. See Table 14.4 and Figure 14.2.

Table 14.4 - SDG_14_10 Surface of the marine protected areas, 2012-2021

X-axis labelEuropean Union
20174.2
20187.4
201910.7
202012.1

Sustainable fisheries

Estimated trends in fish stock biomass

SDG_14_21 shows the model-based trend over time of fish stock biomass relative to 2003 in the EU marine waters of the North-East Atlantic and adjacent seas (FAO area 27) and Mediterranean and Black Sea (FAO area 37) and is presented as index 2003 = 100. Fish stock biomass is a function of biological characteristics such as abundance and weight and can indicate the status of a fish stock when measured against reference values. The indicator is computed based on single species quantitative stock assessments. The full time series is updated every year, sometimes including new stocks due to newly available quantitative assessments which can result in small differences from one release year to the next. See Table 14.5 and Figure 14.3.

Table 14.5 - SDG_14_21 Estimated trends in fish stock biomass, by fishing areas, 2014-2021

X-axis labelEU total marine areasAtlantic, NortheastMediterranean and Black Sea
201410011190
201510411691
201610812493
201711112099
2018114126100
2019113120103
2020118126106
2021:139

Estimated trends in fishing pressure

SDG_14_30 presents the model-based median value of fishing pressure (F/Fmsy) in EU marine waters of the North-East Atlantic and adjacent seas (FAO area 27) and the Mediterranean and the Black Sea (FAO area 37) for which current fishing mortality (F) exceeds the estimated fishing mortality consistent with achieving maximum sustainable yield (Fmsy). Fishing mortality is a measure for death or removal of fish from a population due to fishing. The fishing mortality consistent with achieving maximum sustainable yield is determined by the long-term average stock size that allows fishing at this level. For fisheries to be sustainable, F should not exceed Fmsy – the point at which the largest catch can be taken from a fish stock over an indefinite period without harming it.

The model-based median value of fishing pressure (F/Fmsy) indicates the trend of exploitation: values below 1 indicate sustainable fishing levels (F Fmsy). See Table 14.6 and Figure 14.4.

Table 14.6 - SDG_14_30 Estimated trends in fishing pressure, by fishing area, 2014-2021

X-axis labelEU total marine areasAtlantic, NortheastMediterranean and Black Sea
20141.370.921.99
20151.360.912
20161.340.911.93
20171.320.91.87
20181.340.911.91
20191.350.882
20201.170.781.71
2021:0.76