We all make use of our seas and oceans. Traditional uses (transport, fishing, tourism) now sit alongside more recent activities (mineral extraction, wind farms). The seas have enormous intrinsic value: unlike our cities, they provide us with a free horizon; we enjoy clean coastal and marine environments and the wildlife they support; and we benefit from their role in keeping our climate stable.
But the unsustainable use of our seas threatens the fragile balance of marine ecosystems. Human activities that depend on the sea, such as fishing and tourism, suffer from damaged ecosystems and use-related competition will become increasingly serious.
The EU Coastal and Marine Policy provides the legal impetus for the EU to protect and clean up its coasts, seas and oceans as part of an integrated strategy that will enable us to use them sustainably.