SDG 14 - Life below water

Conserve and sustainably use the oceans, seas and marine resources for sustainable development

SDG14 is primarily concerned with taking care of the oceans.


A secondary goal is to ensure a resource base for continued marine harvesting. Sustainability is squeezed from multiple directions: the degradation of the resource base, a lack of global-scale governance of the drivers of ocean acidification and warming, and a lack of rational local and regional governance of drivers/subsidies for marine resource use.


ROW, BRISE, and China will continue facing huge challenges on the local scale, as well as global challenges with acidification, and so receive a red rating. USA and OECD will solve many of the local challenges with continued global warming, but remain vulnerable to acidification and global fishery challenges, and hence receive a yellow rating. Uncertainty is high on various factors, except acidification that has low uncertainty.

Understanding the score

Five regions: USA, OECD (excl. USA), China, BRISE (Brazil, Russia, India, South Africa and 10 other emerging economies), ROW (rest of the world).
Green light: Goal likely to be reached.
Orange light: Goal not likely to be reached, but more than 50% of the gap between today's status and the goal is likely to be closed.
Red light: Goal not likely to be reached, and less than 50% of the gap between today's status and the goal is likely to be closed.

14. Life below water
SDG 14: Life below water score
Cermaq Group: Fishing for solutions

Per capita consumption of fish has doubled the since 1960, and fish is the major source of protein for over 3 billion people. But the global catch hasn’t increased much since the late 1980s, and we’re now in a position where a third of marine fish stocks are overfished at biologically unsustainable levels (FAO, 2010). Can aquaculture close the gap and ease the pressure on wild fish?

One way of reducing strain on the oceans and wild species is to have effective aquaculture that can be done at a cost lower than wild catch. The volume of Norwegian aquaculture has drawn level to that of wild-caught catch. "Wild catch has not increased for a number of years and is unlikely to do so. We may even be faced with a lower catch", says Cermaq's CEO, Geir Molvik. 

Through the Global Salmon Initiative, Cermaq's partnerships with the UN-FAO helps to identify areas where the industry can help promote efficiency in fish farming. The technology transfer is not limited to farming practices, but includes disease management and feed as well.

"This is, in my view, probably by far the most effective thing we can do to eradicate world hunger, but it also has other sustainability aspects," says Molvik. "Fish farming is very local, which means it can provide jobs and economic development in the most remote areas in the world. And there is a multiplier effect; each small farm is in many ways a cornerstone business in the local community. So you can have more local protein production, which helps eradicate hunger locally, while creating small businesses."

For the complete forecast on SDG 14: Life below water and the full Cermaq story, download the report.


The Future of Spaceship Earth