Background and Aim: Over 71 percent of the Earth is covered with water. Therefore from outer space, it appears blue and so Earth is called the “Blue Planet”. The marine environment is of vital importance for humanity. The ocean generates half of the oxygen we breathe. It comprises 97% of the world’s water and also adjusts weather and climate patterns. Ocean affords foods and supports livelihood for more than 3 billion people in the world as well as provides the transport route for over 90% of the global trade and business. More than 2 million species have been estimated in the world’s oceans by the scientists, however, we have only identified 10% among them. Nevertheless, some of the species we have identified are demonstrating extremely valuable, including their application in biomedical and nutritional research. Human activities have degraded or destroyed the marine ecosystem, jeopardizing the invaluable services it provides. Climate change, marine pollution, overfishing, destruction of marine and coastal habitats, invasive species, oil, and gas extraction — these hazards are extensive. These threats not only rob the ocean of its aesthetic and inspirational value — they directly endanger human survival. There can be no sustainable future without a healthy ocean.
Method: This abstract reviews the significance of the marine environment, the threats it faces, and the complexities of ocean governance, involving multiple stakeholders, governments, and market forces. It explores the challenges posed by market failures in environmental protection and the shared-resource dilemma, emphasizing the need for effective governance.
Results: Ocean governance is the integrated conduct of the policies, activities and affairs concerning the World’s Oceans for sustainable use of coastal and marine resources by reducing the risk of irreversible damage of our marine ecosystem. The objective of Good Governance in Sustainable Development (GGSD) Program is to assist societies to develop on effective government within a democratic system, and to implement sustainable development principles through global partnership. It encompasses the influence of non-state actors, i.e., stakeholders, GOs, NGOs and so on, thus the states are not the only acting power in making the appropriate policies. Nevertheless, ocean governance is complex, as much of the ocean belongs to the commonpeoples, that is not owned by any single person or nation/state. There have been a strong belief that the “invisible hand” is the finest technique in determining the factors underlying ocean governance. These include (but not limited to): what resources we explore, what resources we consume, how we could use them and what price we should pay for them.
The major reasons behind this is the market has to have the desire in a view to endorse environmental protection, but it is hardly the case, termed as “market failure”. As a result, marine resources are overexploited as the humans have inclined to treat them as shared resources by not taking identical and communal accountabilities in caring for them. Over the times, anthropogenic activities in and adjacent to the world’s oceans have been increased manyfold, causing severe deleterious effects on our marine environments. Scientists are observing higher and quicker changes along with adequate rapid decreases in ocean health than that had been expected previously. Nowadays, we are living in the era of climate change and almost all parts of the oceanic ecosystems are affected by human activities, and several areas, specifically those closer to the dense population centres, are intensely exaggerated by a lot of pressures. The oceans faced by threats are numerous including destructive and unsustainable fishing practices, illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing, pollution from both the land-based and ship-based sources, habitat destructions, ocean sounds, ship strikes, introduction of invasive species, mining of minerals, and the extraction of gas and oil. The detrimental impacts causing from these activities acts cumulatively with the adverse effects of ocean warming, ocean acidification, changing currents, decreased mixing and reducing oxygen levels. The deteriorating ocean health has terrible consequences for the peoples, their livelihoods and whole economies, with the neediest populations that depends on marine resources often being the most affected. Many strategies and tools are being utilized, and can be used to apply an ecosystem-based approach to the management of human activities in ocean and coastal areas. These include bioregional classification, coherent systems of marine protected or managed areas, ocean zoning and fisheries management. Strategic environmental assessment (SIA) and the environmental impact assessment (EIA) safeguard that proposed activities do not cause undue environmental degradation. Efficient ocean governance requires strong international agreements. In short, there is a need for some form of governance to maintain the ocean for its various uses, preferably in a sustainable manner. Over the years, a number of international treaties have been signed in order to regulate international ocean governance. Current international policy goals to create more sustainable relations with the ocean are captured in Sustainable Development Goal 14 (SDG-14) "life below sea" (Figure 1). Largely, a key challenge remains: integrating various management approaches undertaken by sectors into a comprehensive and cohesive plan with the ecosystem as its central framework. Nevertheless, SDG-14, with its comprehensive set of targets, provides an opportunity to bring ocean governance to the forefront of the global dialogue on sustainable development. It is not only an opportunity for a rich exchange of ideas, but also for bringing together ocean stakeholders and agreeing on a new road map for improved ocean governance that can benefit ecosystems as well as people and their livelihoods. In order to achieve this, a new window of stewardship in the oceans is needed, one supported by the application of a holistic, integrated ecosystem approach to the management of all human activities impacting oceanic ecosystems and blue growth to a greater extent.
Conclusion: Efficient ocean governance, supported by international agreements and sustainable development goals, is essential to safeguarding marine ecosystems and ensuring a sustainable future for both nature and humanity.