Europe's Seas Under Threat

Posted by Michelle Howard
Thursday, February 20, 2014
Image © Joachim S Müller

Many of Europe’s marine species, habitats and ecosystems have been under threat for decades. As maritime economic activities are predicted to increase in coming years, a new briefing from the European Environment Agency (EEA) argues that the cumulative impact of human activity should be better managed to avoid irreversible damage to ecosystems.

Many European industries have growing cumulative impacts on the sea, including transport, fishing, offshore energy and tourism. ‘Marine messages’ highlights the vulnerable nature of Europe’s marine ecosystems, which may be irreversibly damaged if they continue to be exploited beyond sustainable limits.  European countries need better information to help them understand the nature of these limits, the briefing says.

The publication is being launched to support the HOPE marine conference on March 3-4, 2014.

Hans Bruyninckx, EEA Executive Director said, “The rich life in Europe’s seas is an incredible asset. But we must ensure that this asset is used in a sustainable way, without surpassing the limits of what the ecosystems can provide. The current way we use the sea risks irreversibly degrading many of these ecosystems.”

Approximately two fifths of the EU’s population –206 million people – live in a coastal area, and 23 of 28 Member States have a coastline. According to analysis from the European Commission, also published today, Member States must make urgent efforts and improve cooperation for the marine environment to reach good status by 2020, a target under the Marine Strategy Framework Directive (MSFD).

Europe’s marine ecosystems threatened by multiple pressures
Marine ecosystems are in a poor state of health in many areas, the EEA briefing says.  There are more than 36 000 known animal and plant species in the European seas. Species surveys have found that ‘good environmental status’ can be applied to less than a fifth of species and a similar proportion of habitats. 

Different seas face different problems. Eutrophication is leading to oxygen-free ‘dead zones’ in the Baltic and Black Seas, while trawling has been most destructive of the seabed in the North Sea. The Mediterranean is under pressure from a range of factors, many of them related to fishing and tourism.

In the last 25 years, sea surface temperatures have increased approximately 10 times faster than in other similar periods during the previous century or beyond. These climatic changes are pushing many organisms northwards – for example some types of plankton appear to have moved 1,100km.

Looking ahead
However, it is not a single issue but the cumulative effect of different pressures which is most important, the briefing notes. And many of these pressures are connected. For example, higher temperatures also increase oxygen depletion, affecting marine life, while increasing CO2 levels in the atmosphere are acidifying the oceans, making it difficult for some animals to form shells. Together these changes may be disrupting whole ecosystems.

Nonetheless, there are also some encouraging signs. For instance, the available data shows some fish stocks climbing back to safe biological limits, and nutrient loads have been reduced in the Baltic and North East Atlantic. Europe is also making progress in designating marine protected area networks, which currently cover 6% of European seas.

Maritime Reporter September 2014 Digital Edition
FREE Maritime Reporter Subscription
Latest Maritime News    rss feeds

People & Company News

Liebherr to Deliver RTGs to Mayotte and Manila

Liebherr confirms orders for variable speed RTGs and electric RTGs. DPWorld Asian Terminals Inc. has placed an order with Liebherr Container Cranes for a further 5 RTGs at its Manila facility.

U.S. Navy Contracts 12 Rapid Response Skimmers

Kvichak Marine won a US Navy contract for 12 30-ft.Rapid Response Skimmers (RRS) for delivery over the next 18 months, with options for up to 30 additional skimmers to be delivered through 2019.

DP World Receives 1st Scheduled Vessel at New Terminal

DP World has yesterday welcomed the first scheduled vessel to call at its new Container Terminal 3 in Jebel Ali, Dubai, as it gears up to serve customers at the state-of-the-art facility.

Offshore

Rederij Groen Takes Delivery of 7-Waves

Rederij Groen’s entire SRSV fleet built by Damen Maaskant Shipyards Stellendam. Dutch offshore services company Rederij Groen has taken delivery of the 7-Waves,

New Oil Field Found in British North Sea

GDF SUEZ E&P UK Ltd and BP today announced a new exploration discovery in the UK Central North Sea. The discovery, which spans GDF SUEZ operated block 30/1f

Three Dead in Offshore Platform Accident

Three workers were killed and one is still missing after an accident at one of the offshore oil and gas platforms in the Caspian Sea in Azerbaijan, Azeri state energy company SOCAR said on Thursday.

Environmental

Liebherr to Deliver RTGs to Mayotte and Manila

Liebherr confirms orders for variable speed RTGs and electric RTGs. DPWorld Asian Terminals Inc. has placed an order with Liebherr Container Cranes for a further 5 RTGs at its Manila facility.

Ecoships Claims 15% Ship Efficiency Gain

Ecoships introduced a customized version of the Six Sigma DMAIC approach to process and performance evaluation in order to optimize the energy-efficiency of the vessels under its management.

IBIA Welcomes MEPC Bunker Compromise

The compromise solution on the issue of ensuring bunker quality agreed at the 67th meeting of the IMO’s Marine Environment Protection Committee (MEPC 67) has been

News

WFW Advises ING Bank on $340m Loan Facility for Euronav

Watson, Farley & Williams (WFW) has advised ING Bank N.V. (ING) as sole bookrunner and facility agent for a syndicate of banks on a $340 million loan facility made available to Euronav NV.

UN Authorizes Ship Inspections Near Somalia For Arms, Charcoal

The United Nations Security Council authorized the inspection of boats suspected of carrying illegal shipments of charcoal or weapons to and from Somalia on Friday,

Clean Marine Wins New Contract

Clean Marine has been selected by Hyundai Mipo Dockyard in South Korea to supply exhaust gas cleaning systems (EGCS) for two new MR tankers. IMO’s convention

Marine Science

New Oil Field Found in British North Sea

GDF SUEZ E&P UK Ltd and BP today announced a new exploration discovery in the UK Central North Sea. The discovery, which spans GDF SUEZ operated block 30/1f

Bright Outlook for BWM Convention

The Danish Maritime Authority informed that the Ballast Water Management Convention is now one step closer to ratification following last week’s meeting of United

Nordic Wins with Noble

Nordic Maritime, a leading offshore service operator, today announced a five year time charter for its DP2 IMR Subsea vessel, Mokul Nordic, which has been awarded by Noble Energy,

Offshore Energy

New Oil Field Found in British North Sea

GDF SUEZ E&P UK Ltd and BP today announced a new exploration discovery in the UK Central North Sea. The discovery, which spans GDF SUEZ operated block 30/1f

A History of U.S. Oil Export Controls

On Oct. 20, 1973, King Faisal of Saudi Arabia imposed a total embargo on oil shipments to the United States among other countries in response to their support for Israel during the Arab-Israeli war.

Three Dead in Offshore Platform Accident

Three workers were killed and one is still missing after an accident at one of the offshore oil and gas platforms in the Caspian Sea in Azerbaijan, Azeri state energy company SOCAR said on Thursday.

 
 
Maritime Careers / Shipboard Positions Maritime Security Naval Architecture Navigation Port Authority Salvage Ship Simulators Shipbuilding / Vessel Construction Sonar Winch
rss | archive | history | articles | privacy | terms and conditions | contributors | top maritime news | about us | copyright | maritime magazines
maritime security news | shipbuilding news | maritime industry | shipping news | maritime reporting | workboats news | ship design | maritime business

Time taken: 0.2202 sec (5 req/sec)