Encompassing large and diverse territories with different ocean basins, the Asia-Pacific region is currently not on track to reach key targets, including those related to marine pollution, the conservation of coastal areas, and marine resources for Small Island Developing States (SIDS) and least developed countries (LDCs). Regional and transboundary cooperation efforts and mechanisms are necessary for the delivery of Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 14 and are of
relevance in the socioeconomic response to COVID-19.
Ocean ecosystems are in a constant struggle to moderate the impacts of land-based lifestyles, such as the consequences of climate change for marine habitats in the form of coral bleaching, acidification, eutrophication, ocean warming, rising sea levels, harmful algal blooms, and a long list of pressures. The COVID-19 pandemic has exacerbated pre-existing challenges, including environmental issues facing marine ecosystems.
Although fisheries support the livelihoods of millions of people in Asia and the Pacific and provide a major component of the diets of communities across the region, fish stocks continue to decline, and consumption patterns are unsustainable. This situation is accompanied by additional stressors, such as climate change-induced migrations of species and harmful practices such as persistent illegal, unreported, and unregulated (IUU) fishing.