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Oceans and fisheries
News announcement6 December 2019Directorate-General for Maritime Affairs and Fisheries

COP 25: EU Ocean Day highlights the role of oceans in tackling climate change globally

Healthy oceans are a priority in the fight against climate change. To highlight the role of science in policy-making and the opportunities provided by oceans in tackling the climate challenge, the European Commission is organising an ‘EU Ocean Day’ on 7 December during the COP 25, the UN Climate Change Conference (2 – 13 December 2019).

In one of his first international engagements, European Commissioner for environment, oceans and fisheries, Virginijus Sinkevičius, is attending the climate conference in Madrid (COP 25) to push for more international action on oceans and climate change. Fighting climate change and protecting marine life biodiversity is a centrepiece of the EU’s ocean policy. Due to climate change, our oceans are facing serious challenges, which require an urgent and comprehensive response. But oceans are also a part of the solution. The conference is an opportunity for mobilising support for coherent international action and better ocean governance, said Commissioner Sinkevičius.

In November, the EU Member States adopted conclusions on oceans and seas, stressing that climate change is a direct and existential threat to life in the oceans and seas globally. Member states called for increased action at all levels of government to protect marine and coastal ecosystems. Climate change is having far-reaching impact, not least on fisheries. Shifts in species distribution, in migration patterns and in abundance, creates important challenges for sustainable fisheries management at both national and international level.


In its proposal for a future multiannual budget of the EU (2021-2027), and in line with the Paris Agreement and the commitment to the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, the Commission sets an ambitious goal for climate mainstreaming across all EU programmes, with a target of 25% of all EU expenditure contributing towards climate objectives.

At “Our Ocean Conference” in Oslo in October, the EU announced 22 new ocean commitments, worth EUR 540 million. This includes targeted action to support climate change adaptation in highly sensitive marine regions, like the Pacific Islands and the Coral Triangle, advance climate monitoring and research for example in Arctic and Antarctic, and promote the transition to a low carbon emission economy.


Publication date
6 December 2019
Directorate-General for Maritime Affairs and Fisheries