Oceans | WWF
© Matthieu Lapinski Ailerons

Oceans

All life on Earth depends on our ocean
Europe’s seas include some of the most intensively used marine waters in the world and remain threatened by a range of factors including overexploitation of fish stocks, pollution, marine biodiversity loss and degraded habitats.
 
In recent years, many European policies have been adopted to manage the use of the seas and secure the protection of marine wildlife and habitats. However, many of these policies remain to be fully implemented and the European Union is unlikely to  achieve its objectives of good environmental status of European seas and sustainable use of fish stocks by 2020.

"As the climate crisis unfolds, the EU must uphold commitments to sustainability, environmental protection and viable fisheries to secure a healthy relationship with nature and a resilient ocean."

Dr Antonia Leroy
Head of Ocean Policy
+32 485 69 20 85
@AntoniaLeroy

© Misjel Decleer

What WWF is doing

WWF is working with the European Union institutions, Member States and the private sector to deliver healthy marine ecosystems, resilient fisheries and a sustainable Blue Economy.

The EPO draws on the WWF European network’s field experiences to call for environmentally robust and evidence-based policies for sustainable ocean governance. 

To ensure the sustainable use of our ocean and effectively protect our seas, marine ecosystems and biodiversity, we:
 
  • Take action across all levels of governance, including industry and society, to support circular economy principles like more sustainable products and reinforced waste management to keep litter out of nature;
  • Take action across all levels of governance, including the public and private sector, to promote sustainable fishing practices that guarantee the social, economic and environmental resilience of fish stocks and which lower impacts on the marine environment;
  • Advocate for better implementation and monitoring of European legislation to end illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing (IUU Regulation).
  • Advocate for ambitious control rules which strengthen and enforce fisheries legislation to make EU fishing practices more sustainable and transparent 
  • Build cooperation and promote the involvement of stakeholders and business in the management of fisheries to transform commercial practices which negatively impact the marine environment;
  • Promote the creation of an ecologically coherent network of Marine Protected Areas and their proper management;
  • Promote the ecosystem-based approach in marine spatial plans that are adopted by European Member States;
  • Influence investment decisions within the maritime sector to be founded on the most sustainable blue economy pathways possible.

Contacts

Dr Antonia Leroy
Head of Ocean Policy
+32 485 69 20 85
@AntoniaLeroy

Katrin Vilhelm Poulsen
Seafood Policy Officer
@katrinvilhelm

Janica Borg
Senior Marine Protection and
Spatial Planning Policy Coordinator
@janica_borg

Alexandre Cornet
Ocean Policy Assistant
@Alx_Cornet

Larissa Milo-Dale
Senior Communications Officer, Marine
+32 483 26 20 86
@larashka

Policy timeline

Ocean 2020

  • May 13: Member States Expert Group on MSP
  • May: Member States Steering Committee on MSFD
  • May: Launch of EU Farm To Fork Strategy
  • May: Launch of EU Biodiversity Strategy
  • September: Control Regulation vote in European Parliament Fisheries Committee 
  • October: Launch of EU Offshore Wind Strategy
  • 2-6 November:  IOTC Commission meeting - Bali, Indonesia
  • November: Control Regulation plenary vote in European Parliament
  • December: EU target to have 10% of Europe's marine and coastal areas effectively protected
  • 7-8 December: Our Ocean Conference - Palau
2020 events which have been postponed due to COVID-19, with new dates to be determined:
  • European Parliament initiative report on offshore wind farms
  • European Maritime Days - Ireland, Cork
  • UN Ocean Conference - Lisbon, Portugal
  • Convention on Biological Diversity COP15 - Kunming, China
Ocean 2021
  • 7-15 January: IUCN World Conservation Congress - Marseille, France
  • January:  FAO COFI meeting - Rome, Italy
  • 31 March: deadline for national marine spatial plans (MSP)
  • 1-12 November: United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP26) - Glasgow, Scotland

Latest Ocean News
Latest report

© Jürgen Freund / WWF

Improving international ocean governance for life below water

Five years on from the adoption of the UN 2030 Agenda, WWF sounds the alarm to European decision makers and the global signatories of the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) over failed progress on SDG14, the Goal for conservation and sustainable use of our ocean. This report shows that three of the four SDG14 targets due in 2020 will not have been achieved by the end of this year, with the fourth target only partly achieved

Following adoption of the European Green Deal, as the world’s largest seafood market and with a marine area covering over six million square kilometres across four distinct sea regions, WWF calls on the EU to lead by example and stand by its commitments to all life above and below water.