Key messages Marine ecosystem degradation involves the loss of benefits to society; it can occur as a result of natural causes or human activity. Impacts of climate change, including ocean acidification, are inherently global. Widespread local activities can also have cumulative global effects. The many components of both kinds of impacts interact. The rate of marine ecosystem degradation is accelerating due to economic growth and population growth. Improved assessments of ecosystem state should be based on integrated, interdisciplinary observations that include biodiversity and ecosystem functioning. Further international policy action is needed to reduce the drivers of marine degradation, improve marine literacy and develop a global approach to marine conservation.
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