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Oceans and seas are essential components of the biosphere. Marine sustainability and human society are intrinsically interlinked. The oceans are crucial for global food security, human health and regulation of climate. The livelihoods of over 3 billion people worldwide depend upon services from marine and coastal biodiversity. Under the EU’s blue growth strategy, new marine goods and services, such as marine renewable energy, marine biotechnology and marine minerals, are seen as important sources of employment, economic security and sustainable development.
Over the past 10 years there has been increasing focus on marine and maritime governance both within the European Union and beyond. The fundamental challenge that European policymakers must address is how to achieve a sustainable use of the oceans that ensures that marine goods and services are available for future generations, while meeting the demands of human population growth and economic growth.