SDG 14 - Life below water (statistical annex)
Conserve and sustainably use the oceans, seas and marine resources for sustainable development (statistical annex)
Data extracted in May 2019.
Planned article update: June 2020.
This article provides an overview of statistical data on SDG 14 ‘Life below water’ in the European Union (EU). It is based on the set of EU SDG indicators for monitoring of progress towards the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in an EU context.
This article is part of a set of statistical articles, which are based on the Eurostat publication ’Sustainable development in the European Union — Monitoring report - 2019 edition’. This report is the third edition of Eurostat’s series of monitoring reports on sustainable development, which provide a quantitative assessment of progress of the EU towards the SDGs in an EU context.
Bathing sites with excellent water quality
The Bathing Water Directive (BWD) 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’. Bathing water quality is assessed according to standards for microbiological parameters (intestinal enterococci and Escherichia coli). The data presented in this section stem from the European Environment Agency (EEA) and are based on Member State reporting under the BWD and described in the annual Bathing Water report.
Mean ocean acidity
This indicator shows the global yearly mean surface sea water pH value. The decline in pH observed on a global scale corresponds to an increase in the acidity of ocean water and vice versa. This trend is caused by an increase in atmospheric CO2, which increases the uptake of CO2 by oceans. This is directly correlated with ocean pH. The Copernicus Marine Service has reconstructed the global yearly mean surface sea water pH from 2001 onwards, based on a combination of methods which make use of in situ and remote-sensing data, as well as empirical relationships.
Surface of marine sites designated under Natura 2000
The EU Birds and Habitats Directives require Member States to designate and manage Sites of Community Importance (SCIs) where habitats and species of EU interest should be maintained in or restored to favourable conservation status. Together the SCIs constitute the Natura 2000 network. This indicator measures the surface area covered by marine SCIs (km2). A thorough typology has been developed to support precise reporting. Data provided by the Member States to the Commission are consolidated at least yearly by the European Environment Agency and the European Topic Centre on Biological Diversity (EEA ETC/BD) and collected by European Commission Directorate-General for the Environment.
Estimated trends in fish stock biomass
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. This is a model-based indicator that is computed using results from single-species quantitative stock assessments. It shows the median value of fish stock biomass relative to 2003 for the North-East Atlantic and adjacent seas (FAO area 27) . Time series for stock biomass estimates are provided by the International Council for the Exploration of the Sea (ICES), the General Fisheries Commission for the Mediterranean (GFCM) and the EU Joint Research Centre’s Scientific, Technical and Economic Committee for Fisheries (STECF). The model-based indicator for stock biomass for the Mediterranean and Black Sea is currently excluded because it is associated with high uncertainties due to the fact that biomass estimates for this area are quite variable from one year to the next .
Assessed fish stocks exceeding fishing mortality at maximum sustainable yield (FMSY)
To ensure fish stocks are exploited sustainably, the CFP aims to rebuild stocks above levels at which they can produce the maximum sustainable yield (MSY). MSY is determined by the long-term average stock size that allows fishing at this level. The indicator measures the proportion of assessed fish stocks where current fishing mortality (F) exceeds the estimated maximum sustainable yield (FMSY), expressed with the term F> FMSY. Data are provided by the Joint Research Centre (JRC). The model-based indicator for F/FMSY for the Mediterranean and Black Sea is currently excluded because it is not very robust due to the large changes in the number of stocks available to fit the model .
More detailed information on EU SDG indicators for monitoring of progress towards the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), such as indicator relevance, definitions, methodological notes, background and potential linkages, can be found in the introduction of the publication ’Sustainable development in the European Union — Monitoring report - 2019 edition’.
- Model-based indicators are preferable to arithmetic mean estimates, which are sensitive to outliers.
- Scientific, Technical and Economic Committee for Fisheries (STECF) (2019), Monitoring the performance of the Common Fisheries Policy (STECF-17-04), Publications Office of the European Union, p. 9.
- Scientific, Technical and Economic Committee for Fisheries (STECF) (2017), Monitoring the performance of the Common Fisheries Policy (STECF-17-04), Luxembourg, Publications Office of the European Union, p. 36.