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 2020.
Planned article update: June 2021.
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 on progress towards the SDGS in an EU context — 2020 edition’. This report is the fourth 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
Bathing water quality is assessed according to standards for microbiological parameters (intestinal enterococci and Escherichia coli). The indicator is calculated based on the result of 16 sampling events in four years to be sure that most weather events are covered. 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’ depending on the levels of faecal bacteria detected. The data presented in this section stem from the European Environment Agency (EEA) and are based on MS reporting under the BWD and described in the annual Bathing Water report.
Global mean ocean acidity
This indicator shows the global yearly mean surface seawater acidity expressed as 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 seawater 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. 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 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 variability of biomass estimates for this area 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 International Council for the Exploration of the Sea (ICES). The Mediterranean and Black Sea is excluded because too few fish stock assessments were carried out in the considered timeframe .
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 on progress towards the SDGS in an EU context — 2020 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.