UNEP in a report on the fishing sector said "the clock is ticking" on sustainability of global fish stocks, highlighting the need to draft an international agreement on finding ways to better manage the marine environment.
The report reviews ways to end what UNEP describes as harmful government subsidies, noting 80 percent of the world's commercial fish stocks are depleted to the tune of about $50 billion in losses per year.
Government subsides, the report adds, are primary causes of excessive exploitation of the marine environment.
"This is an enormous waste of natural capital and it is threatening food security, development and the marine habitat," said Steven Stone, a UNEP economist, in a statement.
The report calls on world governments to examine and reform their subsidy practices.
"These harmful fisheries subsidies run contrary to the very ethos of a green economy, which promotes investing in the environment as an engine for economic recovery and sustainable growth," added Stone.