Coasts and Oceans : Factfile

There are 14 documents in this section.


  • Coral reefs

    20 November 2011

    Coral reefs are natural living structures and coral itself is half plant and half animal. Coral reefs are actually living apartment houses, built by transparent polyps, which secrete calcium carbonate (the main ingredient of limestone) and erect their architectural masterpieces upon the remains of their predecessors.

  • Collapsing fisheries

    25 March 2008

    After decades of growth, the reported global wild fish catch peaked in 2000 at 96 million tons and fell to 93.8 million tons in 2005, the last year for which worldwide data are available. The catch per person dropped from an average of 17 kilogrammes in the late 1980s to 14 kilogrammes in 2003 - the lowest figure since 1965.

  • Resources under pressure

    20 March 2008

    Over half of the world's coastlines suffer from severe development pressures, according to the World Resources Institute (WRI). Although the report found that virtually all coastal zones in populated areas of developed countries were over-developed, a similar patterns was evident in most developing countries with coastlines. Coastal areas around urban centers were all suffering from unplanned development, over-crowding and the over-exploitation of coastal resources.

  • Valuing the oceans

    20 March 2008

    Oceans ecosystems provide goods and services worth at least $21 trillion a year, over half of this from coastal ecosystems. The haul of seafood alone is valued at around $70 billion a year and provides direct employment to 200 million small-scale and commercial fishers.

  • Alien species

    20 March 2008

    Another form of pollution is the introduction of exotic, or non-native species into marine environments. These marine invaders are on the increase in all the world's seas, probably because of the increase in international shipping.

  • Ocean pollution

    19 March 2008

    The oceans are the ultimate sink for all pollution, 70-80 per cent of which originates from land-based sources. Globally, some 450 cubic kilometres of wastewater - from untreated or partially treated sewage, industrial effluents and agricultural runoff - are carried into coastal waters by rivers and streams every year. Nearly everywhere in the developing world coastal cities dump their untreated wastes into the sea. No place in the world's seas is immune from pollution, as ocean currents transport pollutants to the far corners of the world.

  • Coastal populations

    18 February 2008

    With the exception of sub-Saharan Africa and parts of parts of Central and South Asia, coastal populations are growing at a faster rate than those further inland:

  • Sea turtles

    23 July 2007

    There are seven recognized species of marine turtles, including the leatherback (Dermochelys coriacea), the loggerhead (Caretta caretta), the hawksbill (Eretmochelys imbricata), green turtle (Chelonia mydas), flatback turtle (Natator depressus), olive ridley (Lepidochelys olivacea), and the Kemps ridley (Lepidochelys kempii). All are either endangered or threatened. Leatherbacks, hawksbills, and Kemps ridleys are considered critically endangered.

  • Coastal and ocean management

    6 March 2007

    Around the world 177 nations have coastlines, but as of 2006, slightly fewer than 100 had developed coastal management plans. Although this is twice as many as 1992, no more than 20 had actually been able to implement their plans. Most countries have been content to set up pilot project sites that manage only a tiny area of coastline.

  • Coastal megacities

    6 March 2007

    Coastal cities are getting bigger on virtually all continents. Of the world's 17 megacities in 2006 - those with over 10 million inhabitants - 14 are coastal1.