Until today, more than 240,000 marine species have been identified in the ocean, while scientists continue to discover about 2,000 new species every year.
However, marine wildlife experiences multiple threats including:
- Climate change, causing ocean acidification, warming, and deoxygenation;
- 5 to 12 million tonnes of plastic enter the ocean every year, threatening the health of countless species;
- 90% of large predators have already been taken out of the ocean by overfishing, some 30% of fish stocks are overexploited, and more than 500 hypoxic areas have become 'dead zones' uninhabitable for most species.
To reverse this, the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) is trying to find nature-based and technology-based solutions to protect our oceans, while also leveraging new opportunities to ensure community livelihoods and a sustainable economic activity.
This year's theme 'Life below water: For People and Planet,' aims to recognize the importance of a healthy ocean to human well-being and prosperity, and commit to a sea change in how we manage responsibly its precious and priceless resources, Achim Steiner, Administrator of United Nations Development Programme, said.